Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
The issue of male fertility can be a tricky one to discuss. As with so many male health issues, particularly those related to sex, there is a lot of stigmas surrounding it.
People can feel embarrassed or angry about suffering from fertility problems. When that is the case, it becomes very difficult to talk about it, and those feelings become more powerful.
What is important to remember is that the word “common” in this article’s title is appropriate when we’re talking about needing help with fertility.
It’s estimated that 12% of women in the US struggle to conceive and that in 35% of couples with infertility, there is a male factor too. That translates to one in eight couples in the US alone. There are many reasons why.
When we’re talking about male fertility, the issues range from medical and inherited problems to environmental and lifestyle ones.
While we can cover what seems to be the most common reason for male infertility we'll also take a look at some of the causes that crop up frequently. Here’s what we’ll be looking at:
- What Is Male Infertility?
- Medical History
- How Can I Improve My Fertility?
What Is Male Infertility?
Male infertility is not as simple a definition as you might think. There are several different reasons why a man is infertile, but one phrase that you may see a lot while researching the issue is poor semen quality.
Your sperm is contained in your semen, and a low sperm count is one of the most common reasons for male infertility.
However, poor sperm motility and abnormally shaped sperm are also common issues.
In short, the term is used to describe an issue with either the sperm or an issue with the ejaculatory or sexual function. So, what causes these issues?
According to the National Institues of Health, the biggest issue that causes male infertility is testiculalar dysfunction.
If your testicles aren't working correctly, they cannot produce or store sperm, and you need sperm to fertilize the egg. It is that simple.
However, it is reported that up to 50% of male infertility cases aren't able to be diagnosed. So, they'll never really know what the root of the cause is.
Issues with sperm are also another common factor, again this can be attributed to the testicles not actually producing any sperm at all, now this can actually be due to hormonal issues or blockages.
However, you may actually produce some sperm, but just a reduced amount than what is considered normal. It is known as oligospermia, and a common reason for oligospermia is due to an enlarged vein in the testicle which we shall cover next.
A varicocele is an abnormal enlargement of the veins in the scrotal area on each side. These veins are responsible for draining blood from each testicle.
Varicoceles are usually painless but they can have a significant impact on a man's reproductive health.
It can lead to abnormal semen analysis, low sperm count, decreased sperm motility, and abnormal sperm morphology.
Varicocele can occur in 15-20% of men and it is thought that the enlarged veins around the testicles increase scrotal heat causing a reduction of sperm production.
Let’s start with one of the causes that should be a surprise to absolutely no one. Generally speaking, there are no health issues that cannot be avoided or improved by quitting smoking.
To start with, smoking can cause erectile dysfunction, and even passive smoking can cause issues for women who are trying to conceive.
When it comes to male fertility, you should know that smoking can lead to lower quality sperm.
That means that your sperm motility is impacted, you can have a lower sperm count, and the sperm may be abnormally shaped. Finally, smoking may mean that your sperm is less capable of fertilizing eggs.
Cigarette smoke contains cyanide and carbon monoxide as well as nicotine, and those are not chemicals that we should be putting in our bodies.
If you are struggling with fertility, then you should think about your weight and diet. You face a greater risk of several different health issues when you are obese, and a diet that is heavy in fats and cholesterol puts your body under a lot of strain.
There is research that states that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to produce lower quality sperm, and others produce no sperm at all.
It is important to do your dietary research when you are trying to conceive and to identify vitamins and minerals which could be beneficial.
Unsurprisingly, it’s plants, like fenugreek, which give you a better chance at better sperm than red meat and saturated fats.
It is almost a cliché that alcohol negatively impacts your libido and your sperm quality, but it is absolutely true. To start with, heavy alcohol consumption may cause sexual dysfunction, and it is one of the biggest causes of erectile dysfunction.
However, it can also lead to a reduced sperm count. Alcohol abuse can also play havoc with a number of other key areas, including your hormone levels.
If you are a heavy drinker and you are thinking about having a child, there is a very good chance that cutting down on the amount of alcohol you are drinking will improve your odds.
We all know that severe stress can lead to health issues beyond what you might expect. Over the last eighteen months or so, it feels like everyone has a much better understanding of mental health and the impact that it can have on our physical health.
There have been studies that have shown that severe stress can have an effect on male fertility, as people who have suffered two or more stressful life events in the past year were found to have a lower percentage of sperm with normal morphology and motility.
Now, it can be a lot harder to work on your stress levels than your weight or drinking, for example, but this is a very important factor to consider.
It is important to note that some of the causes for abnormal semen do not have an explanation for anything that you are doing. One of the key areas in the production and the storage of your sperm is the testicles.
If one or both of your testicles has not descended into your scrotum, then you may suffer from infertility.
Similarly, congenital problems with the reproductive organ is a common cause of fertility problems.
If you are suffering from an injury to your testicles, if you have testicular cancer, or if you have undergone surgery on your testicles, the quality of your semen may be impacted.
How Can I Improve My Fertility?
Making changes to your lifestyle can be a big help, but you may want to look at taking supplements. Fertiligy contains twelve different nutrients that have been clinically proven and which target male reproductive health.
Our safe, natural formula contains antioxidants as well as nutrients, including vitamin D, selenium, and d-aspartic acid, and it includes ingredients aimed at increasing your testosterone levels, including zinc and fenugreek.
There are many potential risk factors that can impact your fertility, so having a better idea of how you can change your diet and lifestyle will make a huge difference.
It’s not always easy to get everything you need from your regular diet, and supplements can give you support in those crucial areas.
Fertiligy has been specifically designed by experts to help you to overcome your fertility issues, and you can visit our knowledge base to learn more about issues relating to fertility.