A low sperm count in men is one of the top most reasons for male infertility. The other reasons could be sperm motility, abnormal sperms and a complete absence of sperms.
An average healthy male needs at least 20 million sperm in one ejaculate to fertilize the woman’s egg. Anything lesser than this can be termed as a low sperm count. Many biological and environmental factors lead to a low sperm count. Here are some of them.
Causes Of Low Sperm Count
The age of a man does affect his sperm count. The fertilization rates for a man under 35 are 60% as compared to a man above 40 whose fertilization rate falls down to 50%. Age does lead to a lesser production in the quantity and quality of the sperms.
Severe emotional stress can interfere with the production of testosterone and affect the sperm counts of the man. A bad relationship and work related pressures have been shown to affect the fertility of the man.
Impotence is not directly related to sperm count but may affect the man’s ability to have intercourse and successfully ejaculate inside a woman’s vagina to achieve a pregnancy.
Many men are taking recourse to lubes and jellies for lubrication. Some of them act as spermicides and kill the healthy sperms. This can drastically reduce the sperm count in a healthy man.
Men who work in hot environments like mines, where their testicles are exposed to heat, have lower sperm counts. Excessive heat tends to affect the quality and quantity of the sperms. Saunas are also a culprit for low sperm counts.
Heavy drinking and taking drugs like cocaine and marijuana can drastically impair the fertility of a man. The sperm count can reduce as much as 50% in a man with prolonged substance abuse. It may also impair the sperm’s ability to swim up to the egg.
Smoking can impair the sperm count and bring the sperm count down. It can also cause chromosomal abnormalities and genetic changes, which can lead to pregnancy and birth abnormalities in the new born. Smoking is dangerous to health and affects the fertility of a man.
Men who are overweight will have a problem in making their partners pregnant. This has a lot to do with the hormonal levels in the body, which get affected due to excess weight.
Certain nutrient deficiencies can also lead to infertility and low sperm counts. These nutrients include zinc, selenium, folate and vitamin E. A deficiency of these vitamins can lead to low sperm counts.
Bicycling is also responsible for low sperm counts as there is tremendous pressure on the nerves of the scrotum. The tight garments and the shock of riding in mountainous terrain may cause injuries to the scrotum and this may affect and impair testicular function like production of healthy sperm.
Certain genetic factors like cystic fibrosis and environmental pollutants like heavy metal may also cause primary infertility in men. Genetic conditions can be irreversible.