Couples who've been trying to conceive a child for more than a year may be experiencing male or female infertility. It's often assumed the issue is related to a woman's reproductive health, but in Australia, infertility affects around one in 20 men. Here's an overview of the main causes of male infertility:
Sperm production and health can be affected by some infections, such as gonorrhoea or bacteria, that cause inflammation in the testicles. Inflammation can cause scar tissue to develop and prevent ejaculation by blocking sperm travelling along the seminal vesicle. Another common reason for male infertility is varicocele, which is a condition that damages the quality of your sperm by impairing the function of the veins that drain your testicles.
Some health conditions, such as diabetes, can put you at an increased risk of developing retrograde ejaculation. This causes semen to travel to your bladder rather than exit your body through the tip of your penis. Additionally, hormone imbalances can leave you with low levels of testosterone, which can damage the quality of your sperm. These hormone imbalances can originate anywhere in your endocrine system, but an endocrinologist can often treat an imbalance with hormone therapy.
Overexposure to heavy metals and chemicals commonly found in pesticides, weed killers and paint can reduce your sperm count temporarily. If you've been exposed to high doses of radiation, such as undergoing an extended series of diagnostic imaging or radiation therapy, both your sperm count and the quality of your sperm can be negatively affected. Additionally, your sperm count can temporarily decrease when your testicles are exposed to elevated temperatures, so the regular use of saunas or sitting laptops and tablets on your thighs are not recommended if you're trying to conceive.
Consuming alcohol can lower your levels of testosterone, while smoking can reduce your sperm count. Being exposed to second-hand smoke can have the same impact on your fertility as smoking tobacco products yourself. Your fertility can also be reduced if you are overweight, as carrying excess weight can interfere with your thyroid function and impair testosterone production. Additionally, recreational drug use can affect the quality of your sperm and hinder sperm motility.
Male infertility can be investigated and treated by reproductive endocrinologists and urologists using the bulk billing system. So if you've been trying to conceive for at least a year and have concerns about your fertility, ask your GP to refer you to a fertility specialist.Share
23 August 2017
When I first started noticing veins protruding from my lower legs, I did my best to ignore them. However, I knew they were likely varicose veins, as both my parents have had varicose veins for several years. Eventually, I went to see my doctor due to experiencing leg swelling and red patches of skin, which turned out to be varicose eczema. I was prescribed the usual treatment, and my doctor discussed surgery to strip out the damaged veins, but I decided to postpone surgery and look at managing the swelling and protrusion of veins naturally. I started this blog to share my own experiences of trying complementary therapies, such as homeopathy, herbal medicine and massage, to manage my symptoms. I hope you find my posts useful and interesting.