It seems paradoxical that our country has the 2nd largest population in the world and yet infertility among Indian men is on the rise. Leading urologists say that the rise in infertility levels among Indian men is linked to the increase in pollutants (especially xenobiotic compounds that damage the reproductive organs), higher stress levels, and poor diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits.
But how would you know if you have a low sperm count and what are the warning signs of male infertility?
How To Detect Male Infertility
According to research by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the sperm count of the average Indian adult male has dropped drastically in the last 3 decades – from 60 million per ml to approximately 20 million per ml. In many male infertility cases, there are no identifiable signs, but hormone or chromosome issues often have distinctive symptoms. Depending on the cause, symptoms of infertility in men can include:
Changes In Hair Growth
“Men who experience moderate to severe hair loss have a 60 per cent lower sperm volume count”
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone and it is also closely linked to hair growth in men. This is why changes in hair growth can indicate infertility problems. Sudden hair loss or hair thinning are two of the most common problems in men with fertility issues. In fact, research shows that men who experience moderate to severe hair loss have a 60 per cent lower sperm volume count.
Changes In Sexual Desire
“A sudden loss of libido can indicate low testosterone levels along with an underlying infertility issue”
Men are often portrayed as sex-starved animals, which is a bit of a stretch. However, the fact is that men have much higher levels of testosterone and since this hormone is closely linked to sex drive, men have higher libidos. If you notice that your sex drive has suddenly dropped, it could indicate low testosterone levels and possibly an underlying infertility issue.
Problems With Erections & Ejaculation
“Weaker & fewer erections can also indicate an underlying testicular problem that results in infertility”
Problems with erections and ejaculation are almost always linked to low testosterone levels. While levels of testosterone can cause infertility, weaker and fewer erections can also indicate an underlying testicular problem that results in infertility.
Aching, Lumps, Or Swelling In The Testicles
“Swelling in the testicles is often caused by varicoceles, which affects 40% of men with infertility”
Varicoceles are enlarged veins in the scrotum that cause swelling of the testicles – most often the left one. This is a fairly common problem and often leads to infertility, which is why 40% of men with infertility are affected by varicoceles. Similarly, spermatocele is another common problem that can cause infertility in men. A spermatocele is a small cyst that feels like a firm lump in the scrotum.
Recurrent Respiratory Infections
“Although extremely rare, an autosomal recessive disorder that causes frequent respiratory infections is also known to cause infertility”
The condition is associated with frequent occurrence of respiratory infections. Although not every man with frequent respiratory disorders is necessarily infertile, it can be regarded as a warning sign. Fortunately, the underlying cause associated with male infertility itself is rather uncommon – a rare genetic condition called Kartagener’s syndrome or Primary ciliary dyskinesia.
While there are some obvious symptoms of infertility caused by hormonal imbalances, many other infertility problems in men do not have any outward signs. If you have been trying to conceive for a year or more, you should visit a urologist who will suggest a basic semen analysis test to make sure that your swimmers are just fine!
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