Fertility: Causes of Male Infertility

It has been estimated that up to 50 percent of all infertility problems are attributed to males.  Studies initiated by the National Institutes of Health at six universities are working to explore the infertility consequence related to the increase of sexually transmitted disease among young people, as this is a leading cause of infertility and the numbers of young people affected continue to rise. In addition, there are other factors that may affect the production and quality of the sperm including innate and genetic abnormalities, infections of any kind, previous surgeries, environmental and occupational factors, malnutrition and certain medications.

The following factors are common causes of impotency and infertility in men:

• Medications which may impact fertility include Tagamet, which is used in ulcer treatment, drugs that are used for treating cancer, and certain antibiotics that are used to treat tuberculosis.

• Heavy smoking of marijuana and cigarettes, heavy intake of alcohol, anabolic steroid use and undue stress.

• Intense physical exercise may produce high levels of adrenal steroid hormones which cause a testosterone deficiency resulting in infertility.

• Tight underwear increases scrotal temperature which results in decreased sperm production.

• Exposure to environmental hazards and toxins such as pesticides, lead, paint, radiation, radioactive
substances, mercury, benzene, boron, and heavy metals.

• Malnutrition, anemia, and inadequate vitamin C and Zinc in the diet.

• Varicocele, which is a varicose enlargement of the veins of the spermatic cord; it is a curable cause of male infertility. This condition is predominantly found in men who are infertile, but there also have been cases when this condition has been found in fertile men.  Half of the men, who have varicoceles, have problems and other changes in the semen analysis. These people suffer from low sperm count and sperm mortality. The factors that are said to cause this disease are heat and pressure and toxic substances from the dilated vessels.

• Systemic or a genital infection may cause a permanent or a temporary damage to the male testis. Gonorrhea may cause such damage to the male genital tract resulting in a temporary decrease in sperm count. Mumps in an adult male involves either one or both the testicles and may cause testicular damage. Although the sperm count is reduced, fortunately, only one of the testicles often suffers severe impairment and thus fertility is still viable.

Infertility testing of men is a simpler process than that of women. It includes a semen analysis in which the physician examines the freshly ejaculated semen. This test of gives answers to the size, number and movement of the sperm. Although there is no sharp demarcation between sterility and fertility with respect to sperm count, a count of less than twenty to forty million per cubic centimeter is correlated with decreased fertility.

Modifying behaviors can greatly improve a man’s fertility and should be considered when a couple is trying to achieve pregnancy. In addition, Acupuncture and herbal medicine can play a crucial role in treating male infertility and improving male fertility by increasing the quality, motility and number of sperm through whole body restorative care and stress reduction.