Low sperm count means that the fluid (semen) you ejaculate during an orgasm contains fewer sperms than normal. A low sperm count is also called oligospermia.
According to WHO the Normal Semen Analysis has the following values:
- Semen Volume:- 1.4 ml
- Sperm Concentration:- >15 million/ml
- Total Morality:- 40 %
- Progressive Morality :- 30 %
- Viability :- 54 %
- Morphology :- 4%
Sperm count is considered lower than normal if you have <15 million sperm/ml of semen.
How can you know that you have Low Sperm Count ?
The main sign of low sperm count is the inability to conceive a child despite trying without contraception for at-least one year. This condition is known as infertility
Other symptoms may include:
- Problems with sexual function. (eg: Low libido, ED)
- Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area
- Decreased facial or body hair or other signs of a chromosome or hormone abnormality.
What causes sperm counts to become low ?
Low sperm count can be caused by a number of health issues and medical treatments. Some of these include:
- MAGI: MAGI stands for Male Accessory Gland Infection. These include inflammation of the Epididymis (Epididymitis), Prostate (Prostatitis) or Seminal Vesicle (Seminal Vesiculitis) and some STDs.
- Hormone imbalances: The hypothalamus, pituitary and testicles produce hormones (FSH, LH, Prolactin, Testosterone and others) that are necessary for the formation of sperms. Alterations in these hormones may impair sperm production.
- Vericocele: A varicocele is a dilatation of the veins that drain the testicle. It’s the one of the most common reversible causes of male infertility which reduces the quality of the sperms.
- Ejaculatory Dysfunction: Retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen enters the bladder during orgasm instead of emerging out of the tip of the penis. Various health conditions can cause retrograde ejaculation or lack of ejaculation, including diabetes, spinal injuries, and surgery of the bladder, prostate or urethra.
- Medications and Radiation Therapy: Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), long-term anabolic steroid use, certain antifungal and antibiotic medications, some ulcer medications, and other medications can impair sperm production and decrease male fertility. Surgery, radiation or chemotherapy also can also affect male fertility.
- Some other conditions which may cause low sperm count are Undescended testicles, defects of tubules that transport sperms, chromosomal defects (such as Klinefelter’s Syndrome, Cystic fibrosis etc).
What are the tests needed for diagnosis and treatment of Oligospermia ?
Common tests that we can perform to find out the cause of Oligospermia include:
- Semen Analysis – Testing the semen under a microscope
- Scrotal Ultrasound
- Hormone tests such as Serum Total Testosterone, Serum FSH, Serum LH, Serum Prolactin and others
- Post ejaculation urine analysis in which urine sample is taken after orgasm and we look for presence of sperms in it
- Trans Rectal Ultrasound (TRUS) in which prostate and seminal vesicles are examined by an ultrasound through the motion passage
- Chromosomal analysis in the form of Karyotyping or Y Chromosome microdeletion.
How can Low sperm counts be improved ?
The most important things to do in the presence of low sperm count is to find the reason of low sperm count. For this a physical examination is very very important and no other test can replace a carefully done physical examination by an expert. Based on the findings of the examination, or expert can recommend any of the following therapies to improve the low sperm count.
- Antibiotics are prescribed to cure an underlying infection of the reproductive tract or MAGI.
- Treatments for sexual dysfunction such as Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation, Delayed Ejaculation etc
- Medicines can be given to improve the testosterone hormone and balance the hormonal milieu of the body.
- Surgery can be performed to relieve any obstruction in the passage of sperms such as PURED, Vaso-vasal anastomosis or Vaso-epididymal anastomosis.
In case the above methods fail, the sperms can be processed outside the body and injected into the partner through a process called intrauterine insemination. The other method that can be used is called in vitro, fertilisation or IVF.
What are the dietary changes you can do to improve sperm counts ?
To improve your sperm counts have more of fermented nuts and seeds, Citrus fruits , Bananas, Broccoli , Green Leafy Vegetables, Walnuts, Turmeric, Dark Chocolate, Ginserg, Garlic, Vitamin D, Folate, Zinc30 minutes of exercise, 15 minutes of meditation/breathing exercises.
Avoid saunas/steam baths, laptop use. Avoid junk meals, smoking and limit alcohol.
If you have any more questions around low sperm, count, don’t hesitate to connect with us and we will try to engage our experts to answer those questions.