02 Jun Low Sperm Count Treatment
When a man has a low sperm count it means that the fluid from the prostate, called the semen, which is ejaculated during climax contains fewer sperm cells than normal. The medical term for the condition is oligospermia and a complete absence is referred to as azoospermia. A sperm count is considered low when the amount of sperm cells per milliliter of semen is lower than 15 million.
When to See a Doctor
Men who are unable to conceive a child with their partner after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse should consult with their primary care doctor so that they can be assessed and investigated further. Other issues that would warrant a consultation sooner include:
- Discomfort, pain, or swelling experienced in the testicles.
- Problems with one’s erections or ejaculation issues, a reduced sexual drive, or any other complaints regarding sexual function.
- Having a previous history of prostate or testicular problems.
- A history of surgery involving the penis, testicles, scrotum, or groin.
In order to help prevent a low or absent sperm count, one should avoid factors that can affect the quantity and quality of sperm produced by the testicles. These include:
- Abstaining from or quitting smoking tobacco products as well as cannabis
- Abstain from or reduce the intake of alcohol
- Avoid using illicit and illegal drugs
- Avoid excessive and prolonged heat exposure to the testicles
- Reduce stress levels through relaxation techniques
- Avoid medications that have the potential to affect sperm production
- If partaking in sports activities where there is a chance of trauma to the testicles, then the appropriate protective gear has to be worn
- Avoid exposure to heavy metals, pesticides, and other such toxins
The following recommendations are made to increase one’s chances of conceiving:
- Increasing sexual frequency to every day or every other day at least three to four days before ovulation significantly increases the chances of one’s partner becoming pregnant.
- A woman is more like to become pregnant when intercourse occurs at the time when fertilization is possible. The best time is when she is ovulating and this occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle.
Treating a low sperm count will entail managing any direct problems that lead to the condition. These therapies may include the following:
- Treating infections of the reproductive system by using the appropriate antibiotics.
- Managing erectile dysfunction, and/or premature ejaculation with PDE5 inhibitors and antidepressants, respectively.
- Hormone replacement therapy is initiated in those with testosterone deficiencies or who have an elevated estrogen level.
- Conditions such as varicoceles (varicose veins affecting the testicles) or an obstructed vas deferens (tube connecting the testicle to the urethra of the penis) may need surgical intervention.
Assisted reproductive technology is suggested where the mentioned therapies have failed and involve obtaining sperm from a male through various methods and may include any one of the following:
- Normal ejaculation and collection in a specimen container
- Surgical extraction from the testicles or epididymis
- Sperm can be donated from an anonymous or known individual
The sperm is then transferred over to and placed into the female genital tract or used for intracytoplasmic sperm injection or in vitro fertilization.