Orlando, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Infertility affects one in 25 men. One big culprit: low sperm counts. A new study shows sperm concentration among men from western countries declined by more than 50 percent between 1973 and 2011. But what’s causing low sperm counts?
Alcohol, smoking, and drugs are well-known contributors.
Jack Cassell, MD, Urology of Mount Dora shared, “A little too much cannabis has been thought to decrease sperm count.”
In a new small study, researchers found using ibuprofen regularly may also be linked to lower sperm count. Abstinence from sex can affect a man’s amount of sperm. Other causes: being exposed to certain toxins, being overweight or underweight, too much exercise, steroid use, stress, and exposure to hot temperatures.
“Word has it that if you spend too much time in the hot tub that could hurt the sperm. That’s kind of why testicles live in a scrotum that’s kind of exterior to keep it a little bit cooler than body temperature,” continued Dr. Cassell.
What doesn’t cause low sperm counts? Drinking soda won’t affect your sperm count, despite what you read online. Another myth is that boxers are better than briefs for conserving sperm. But there’s no research to back this up. Also, studies show cycling won’t affect your fertility.
Having radiation or chemo treatments or untreated infections can also affect your sperm count. There are many ways to help boost your fertility. Talk to your doctor about the best options for your situation.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor
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10 THINGS THAT CAN AFFECT SPERM COUNT
BACKGROUND: Many different medical conditions and other factors can contribute to fertility problems, and an individual case may have a single cause, several causes, or no identifiable cause. Overall, one-third of infertility cases are caused by male reproductive issues, one-third by female reproductive issues, and one-third by both male and female reproductive issues or by unknown factors. The most common issues that lead to infertility in men are problems that affect how the testicles work. Other problems are hormone imbalances or blockages in the male reproductive organs. In about 50 percent of cases, the cause of male infertility cannot be determined. A complete lack of sperm occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of men who are infertile. Studies attribute that to a hormone imbalance or blockage of sperm movement. However, in some cases of infertility, a man produces less sperm than normal. The most common cause of this condition is varicocele, or an enlarged vein in the testicle. Varicocele is present in about 40 percent of men with infertility problems.
SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT: In some cases, an underlying problem such as an inherited disorder, hormonal imbalance, dilated veins around the testicle, or a condition that blocks the passage of sperm causes signs and symptoms. Although most men with male infertility do not notice symptoms other than inability to conceive a child, some signs and symptoms associated with male infertility can include problems with sexual function, pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area, recurrent respiratory infections, inability to smell, abnormal breast growth, decreased facial or body hair or other signs of a chromosomal or hormonal abnormality, and having a lower than normal sperm count. There are treatment options available for male infertility. For example, a varicocele can often be surgically corrected or an obstructed vas deferens repaired. Prior vasectomies can be reversed. Antibiotic treatment might cure an infection of the reproductive tract, but doesn’t always restore fertility. Medication or counseling can help improve fertility in conditions such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. And, some doctors might recommend hormone replacement or medications in cases where infertility is caused by high or low levels of certain hormones or problems with the way the body uses hormones.
(Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-infertility/symptoms-causes/syc-20374773 and https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-infertility/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374780)
BREAKTHROUGH BRINGS HOPE: A simple medical treatment for male infertility is in development after scientists worked out how to overcome a genetic deficiency in sperm which prevents fertilization. Men with an ineffective protein called C zeta struggle to conceive with their partners despite the most aggressive IVF treatments. But for the first time, scientists targeted the protein itself and discovered they were able to increase the quantities so as to successfully fertilize female eggs in the lab. They say the findings indicate that this form of infertility can be treated with medication, potentially allowing previously infertile men to conceive naturally. The research team from Qatar University found that injecting the amount of C zeta protein commonly present in infertile men into mouse eggs resulted in no fertilization, but that they were able to increase the amounts of the protein to trigger a normal fertilization process. “Our ultimate goal is to use the tools that we are currently developing not only to treat, but also diagnose, the cases of male infertility associated with absent or dysfunctional PLC-zeta protein in human sperm,” said Dr. Michail Nomikos, lead researcher. “We believe that our research can eventually give hope to many infertile couples in the near future.”
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David Syatt, PR