Causes, Tests and Treatments for Low sperm Count (oligospermia)
Low sperm count (oligospermia) is a leading cause of infertility or subfertility issues among men. While it requires only one sperm to fertilize the ovum, the odds of conception are such that it takes million of sperm per milliliter of semen to actually achieve the goal of fertilization. A “normal” sperm count is about 20 million or more sperm per milliliter of semen. Over sixty percent of the sperm in each sample should exhibit normal morphology and indicate typical motility – the forward swimming movement.
Oligospermia – or low sperm count – is indicated in simple tests that reveal the concentration of sperm in a given sample quantity. Sperm count can, of course, be impacted by diet, frequency of intercourse, habits like smoking and drinking, and general health and wellness issues.
A medical test can help indicate the causes of a oligospermia and sperm count problems. These causes include varicoceles (a varicocele is a varicose vein in the cord that connects to the testicle. Varicoceles are found in 15% to 20% of all men and in 25% to 40% of infertile men), exposure to chemicals or radiation, congenital testicular abnormalities, and age (though this is more of a factor in fertility issues among women).However, men have a biological clock as well and fertilization rates decrease among men over 40 years of age.
Stress is also a variable in low sperm counts. Emotional and physical stress, as well as insomnia, can facilitate hormonal imbalances in men that impact the production of sperm. Of course, among the most well known causes of low sperm count are “overheating”: this means that hot tubs, fever, and tight briefs can cause temporary reductions in sperm count. Even frequent biking can impact sperm production. If you have questions about how lifestyle issues may affect fertility and sperm count, your doctor will probably have good answers and dispel certain myths.
Nutrition, of course, is a key variable. Antioxidants are key to sperm health and male fertility. Ensure that your diet is rich in vitamin C, selenium, and folate (a vitamin like FertilAid for Men is rich in antioxidants and also contain the amino acid, l-carnitine, which has been shown in clinical studies to increase male fertility and sperm metabolism – as evidenced by increases in sperm motility). Of course. smoking can reduce sperm count as well and can have further fertility and health consequences.
Non-medical methods to increase sperm count (besides using a fertility supplement like FertilAid) include regular exercise, a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, decreasing stress and anxiety levels, getting in shape if your are overweight (talk to your doctor about a safe diet/exercise regimen), and eliminating exposure to environmental toxins. To test for sperm count, you can visit your doctor, or use a home screening kit like SpermCheck Fertility.