Low sperm count also known as oligospermia, is when the semen per ejaculate contains fewer number of sperm than normal. When sperm count is below 15 million/ml semen, it is considered to be low. The average is around 75 million sperm per mL.
This is one of the major cause of male infertility. Though it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg, the journey is not always smooth. So the higher the number of sperms the more your chances.
Causes Of Low Sperm Count
For easier understanding, we will talk about the causes of low sperm count under the following factors;
Some genetic problems increases the risk of oligospermia.These may result in structural or functional testicular abnormalities. Some of the genetic factors that leads to male infertility includes;
- Klinefelter’s syndrome (47 XXY)
- Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH)
- Karyotype abnormalities
- Kallmann’s syndrome, etc.
Sperm production in humans depends on the temperature of the testicles. It is the scrotum which regulates the temperature of the testes.
Such that exposure to industrial chemicals, radiation and too much heat affects the production of sperm.
History of surgeries, cancer treatment ( chemotherapy radiation) and testicular injuries all contribute to low production of sperm. Infections and antibodies that destroy sperm cell also affect the number and structure of sperms.
Certain lifestyles like drug abuse, alcoholism and smoking affects sperm production. Anabolic steroids used to increase muscle mass adversely shrinks the testis thereby affecting sperm production.
Symptoms Of Low Sperm Count
The Most certain sign of low sperm count is infertility. Depending on the underlying cause of the low sperm count, you will experience the signs and symptoms regarding the cause. Like hormone imbalance, chromosomal abnormality, testicular issue, or blockage.
Other notable symptoms includes;
- Low sex drive (libido)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain or swelling around the testicles
- Decreased facial or body hair
Diagnosis usually involves a physical exam, medical history, and semen analysis.
This is done by taking an ejaculate from the patient, the sperm is counted under with the help of the microscope. The motility and morphology is also determined.
Other tests your doctor may try include;
- Blood tests to check hormones or chromosomes
- Ultrasound to visualize the testicles or prostate
- Biopsy to evaluate sperm production in the case of blockages
The best treatment strategy is to avoid lifestyles that brings about low sperm count eg, smoking, alcoholism etc.
Also eating the right diet and taking supplements, that increases testosterone level in the body helps a lot.