What Can Cause Infertility in Males?

by Peter Parker
male infertility

Infertility is one of the most common sexual health problems that affect men. It is defined clinically as the inability to achieve pregnancy after a year of having unprotected sexual intercourse. According to statistics, about 15% of couples who have unprotected sex for a year and 10% of couples who have unprotected sex for two years are unable to conceive.

Are you worried that you have some fertility issues that can prevent you from getting your partner pregnant? What should you do to keep your fertility in peak condition? How do you ensure that your sperm are good and healthy enough for fertilization?

Getting familiar with the common signs and symptoms of infertility in men

How do you know if you are infertile? What changes in your body should you watch out for?

Many cases of male infertility do not have visible signs and symptoms. It can affect a man without him noticing it. But, if signs and symptoms do occur, they usually are the following:

  • Decrease in sex drive or libido
  • Having trouble achieving an erection
  • Having trouble sustaining an erection
  • Having trouble ejaculating
  • Decrease in the amount of ejaculate
  • Pain and discomfort in the testicular area
  • Swelling, inflammation, or lump in the testicular area
  • Inability to grow facial hair and other body hair
  • Frequent respiratory infections


Examples of things that can cause male infertility

Around the world, there are around 50 million couples that have trouble conceiving, and 20% of them are because of male fertility problems. What causes male infertility? Is it always because there is something wrong with the sperm or are there other things that can lead to it?

A significant percentage of male infertility cases are because of problems with the sperm, such as:

    1. Low sperm quality

damaged sperm cellSperm are produced in a man’s testicles. If one of the testicles is not working right, probably because of an injury, a genetic condition, or a disease, the quality of sperm produced may suffer. You may have sperm that is not fully developed or does not have good structure, making it hard for them to travel to the female reproductive system and fertilize an egg.

    1. Low sperm count

A normal sperm count is from 40 million sperm to 300 million sperm per milliliter of semen. If your sperm count is lower than that, probably because of bad lifestyle habits, low testosterone levels, or other causes, your risk of infertility is high.

    1. Sperm transport interruption

There are tubes that serve as tunnels where your sperm passes through, as they travel from your testicles to your semen. If there are obstructions along the way, probably caused by infections, prostate-related complications, or vasectomy, your sperm will not be able to reach your semen and be there when you ejaculate.

    1. Hormonal imbalances

Your body produces several different kinds of hormones that help in the proper functioning of your sexual and reproductive health. If your hormone production encounters a problem, probably because of pituitary tumors or anabolic steroid abuse, this can negatively impact your sperm production and quality.

    1. Varicocele

This is a health problem in which the veins within the sac that holds your testicles enlarge. This can lead to low sperm count, a decrease in sperm quality, and impaired sperm function.

Sometimes, infertility can be caused by medical complications that affect the vital organs and systems of the body. Below are some examples:

    1. Tumors

There are many glands that are involved in a man’s sexual and reproductive function. One of the most important of them all is the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones that are essential in male fertility and sexual health. If a tumor grows in your pituitary gland, there will be hormonal imbalances that can impair your sperm production and sperm function.

    1. Celiac disease

This is a type of digestive disorder wherein you suffer from a negative reaction upon consumption of gluten, which is a type of protein that is found in rye, wheat, and barley. A person who suffers from it should stay away from gluten, as gluten can harm and damage the small intestine, and cause diarrhea, bloating, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and other problems. Certain studies have found that this disease can also be detrimental to a person’s fertility.

    1. Obesity

Excess fat and weight can lead to fertility issues. A person who is obese has a high likelihood of having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels, which can contribute to low sperm count and quality.

    1. History of surgical procedure

If you have had surgery that involved your testicles or prostate, or have had inguinal hernia repairs or vasectomy, your risk of fertility problems is higher than someone who has never had one.

Infertility can also be brought about by environmental factors and lifestyle habits, such as:

    1. Smoking

sperm and cigarette smokingAccording to certain research studies, men who smoke have significantly lower sperm count and sperm quality than men who do not smoke. They also have a lower risk of infertility, erectile dysfunction, low libido, and other sexual health disorders and complications.

    1. Excessive alcohol intake

Too much alcohol consumption can lower your testosterone levels, decreasing your sperm count and sperm quality. Eventually, this can lead to infertility and other sexual health problems, such as erectile dysfunction.

    1. Drug abuse

Taking too much anabolic steroids to build and gain muscle can harm your fertility. One of the known negative side effects of anabolic steroid abuse is shrinking testicles, which can lead to reduced sperm production. Other drugs that can impair male fertility are cocaine and marijuana.

    1. Exposure to toxic elements

If you come into contact with toxins found in pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents, paint, benzenes, and other things for longer than advised, your body may have trouble producing sufficient amounts of sperm, leading to low sperm count.

    1. Radiation

Too much radiation can reduce your sperm production and cause abnormalities in your sperm, making fertilization difficult.


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