Causes of low sperm count

Emobileclinic Trending Topic: Oligospermia

Oligospermia generally known as low sperm count is a leading cause of infertility or subfertility issues among men. Although, only one sperm is needed to fertilize the ovum, the odds of conception are such that it takes million of sperm per milliliter of semen to actually achieve the goal of fertilization. Oligospermia is generally defined as less than 20 million spermatozoa per one ml of ejaculate. Some of these conditions are permanent while others are reversible. 

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Causes of Oligospermia

Causes of oligospermia include an obstruction of the normal flow of sperm due to such conditions as testicular trauma and vasectomy. It may also result from scarring due to surgery on the male reproductive system or from infection and sexually transmitted diseases. A decrease in sperm production is another cause of oligospermia which can be due to such conditions as varicoceles, hormonal disorders, diseases of the testicles, and obesity. Other causes of oligospermia include stress, smoking, drug or alcohol use, some medications, exposure to some toxins, malnutrition, and being underweight. Some sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia, and gonorrhea can also result in oligospermia. Emotional and physical stress, as well as insomnia, can facilitate hormonal imbalances in men that impact the production of sperm. 


The main symptoms and complications of oligospermia are sub-fertility or infertility. Because there may be no symptoms before a man attempts to get a woman pregnant, some men may be unaware of oligospermia. Other symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause of oligospermia. In sexually transmitted diseases symptoms can include burning with urination, testicular pain and a thick discharge from the penis. With a varicocele, symptoms may include dilated veins in the scrotum and swelling of the scrotum. 


Making a diagnosis of oligospermia includes taking a medical and sexual history and completing a general physical examination as well as an exam of the penis and testicles. Diagnostic testing includes performing a semen analysis, which examines the ejaculate for the amount and quality of semen and sperm.

Testing also includes performing lab tests to determine if an infection or sexually transmitted disease is present and the type of infecting organism. Other tests may be done to rule-out other potential causes of oligospermia, such as a hormonal disorder .


Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of oligospermia, the individual case, and the presence of complications. 

Prevention of oligospermia includes preventing sexually transmitted diseases. This includes abstaining from sexual activity or having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship in which neither partner is infected with oligospermia. Latex condoms also provide some protection from some sexually transmitted.

Improving the diet, losing or gaining weight as needed, 

Avoid smoking and reducing alcohol intake

Avoiding hot tubs, tight underwear, and other factors that may create excessive heat around the testicles and reduce sperm count.

Medications that may be used include vitamin E, vitamin C, antioxidants and hormone therapy. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of oligospermia. 


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