Low Sperm Count, Cause, Symptoms and Treatment

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;

  • Genetic
  • Environmental
  • Medical
  • Lifestyle

Genetic 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;

  1. Klinefelter’s syndrome (47 XXY)
  2. Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH)
  3. Karyotype abnormalities
  4. Kallmann’s syndrome, etc.

Environmental Factors

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.

Medical Factors

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.

Also read: Improve your Sperm Motility and Viability with these Foods

Male Infertility, Causes, Diagnosis And Prevention.


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.

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.

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