Infertility is the inability to conceive after at least one year of unprotected intercourse. Since most people are able to conceive within this time, physicians recommend that couples unable to do so be assessed for fertility problems.
Symptoms of Infertility
The most common symptom of male infertility is the inability to conceive a child. Other symptoms include pain or swelling in the testicle area as well as low sperm count.
What Causes Infertility?
There are many underlying problems that can lead to male infertility:
Varicocele. Swelling of the veins is the most common cause of male infertility. Complications with veins may prevent cooling of the testicle, leading to a lower sperm count.
Sperm duct defects. Tubes that transport sperm can be damaged or blocked.
Infection. Sexually transmitted infections including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) can cause permanent testicular damage, or scarring that blocks sperm passage.
Retrograde ejaculation. Semen enters the bladder during orgasm instead of emerging from the penis.
Hormone imbalances. An abnormality in the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid or adrenal glands can lower testosterone, resulting in a lower sperm count.
Erectile dysfunction (ED). Trouble maintaining an erection during sex.
Premature ejaculation. Inability to sustain sexual intercourse for more than one minute prior to ejaculation.
Drugs and alcohol. Steroids can cause testicles to shrink and sperm production to decrease. Other substances such as cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco (nicotine) can temporarily reduce the quality and count of sperm.
Medications and prior surgery. Steroid use, hormone replacement therapy, chemotherapy, and other medications can impair sperm production. Additionally, surgeries such as hernia repairs, vasectomies, and scrotal, prostate, or testicular procedures can cause blockage from the epididymis.
At least one-half of male fertility problems can be treated so that conception is possible. There are three categories of treatment for male infertility:
Assisted reproduction therapy. Methods to improve erectile dysfunction, induce ejaculation, obtain sperm, and inseminate an egg through various methods such as invitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Drug therapy. Medications to improve sperm production, treat hormonal dysfunction, cure infections that compromise sperm, and fight sperm antibodies.
Surgery. An operation for male infertility is performed to treat reproductive tract obstruction and varicocele. Vasoepididymostomy is a microsurgical procedure that corrects obstruction in the coiled tube that connects the testes with the vas deferens (epididymis). Obstructions commonly result from STDs and also include cysts and tubal closure (atresia), which is usually genetic. Vericocelectomy , the removal of a varicocele from the testes, often results in increased sperm count.
Schedule an appointment with Advanced Urology Associates
For more information, please give our adult urology experts at Advanced Urology Associates a call at 815.409.4930 serving near Chicago, Joliet, Frankfort, New Lenox, Morris and Naperville, Illinois.
Please visit any of our locations near Chicagoland:
Advanced Urology Morris
1401 Lakewood Dr. Unit 3
Morris, IL 60450
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1890 Silver Cross Blvd.
Pavilion A, Ste. 430
New Lenox, IL 60451
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1541 Riverboat Center Drive
Joliet, IL 60431