There are several factors that can cause male infertility, and sometimes it’s not a single cause. If you suspect you have a problem with male infertility, schedule an appointment to see your urologist. He or she will perform an exam and run some tests so you can begin to figure out what the cause of your male infertility is. What are some of the causes of male infertility?
A varicocele is a swollen vein in the testicle, which is the most common cause for infertility in men. These veins are responsible for draining the testicle in the scrotum. Varicoceles can occur on either side of the testicle but usually occur on the left side. Varicoceles are usually easily repaired with surgery that allow the sperm to be better produced. If you are found to have a varicocele and do have surgery, it will take a few months for the sperm to come back.
Past Treatment or Surgery
Trauma, testicular cancer, undescended testicles, or twisting of the testicle can result in a problem with male fertility. If you’ve had trauma to your testicular area, even testicular cancer, you may be more at risk for male infertility. Undescended testicles usually resolve themselves shortly after birth. However, if you had an undescended testicle in the past, this increases your chances of being infertile.
If you’ve had a previous surgery, even abdomen, back, pelvis, or prostate surgery, this can affect fertility. Treatment for health conditions such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes could also affect your fertility. During your appointment with your urologist, you’ll need to be as open as possible in order to help them determine the cause of your infertility, so be prepared to talk about your medical history.
Toxins can be very damaging to your fertility. These include simple household toxins such as cleaners and BPA, which is found in most plastics, to medical toxins such as chemo or radiation, to recreational toxins like drinking, smoking, and drug use. While some toxins are impossible to avoid, there are ways that you can take care to avoid toxins at home. Avoid using pesticides in your home or yard. Talk with your doctor about alternatives to treatment that don’t involve toxins. Do an audit of your home and get rid of dangerous chemicals in favor of natural ones, and use glass instead of plastic. It’s also best if you eliminate smoking and drinking while trying to conceive with your partner.
There are certain medications that can hinder your sperm’s production, volume, or motility when it comes to trying to conceive. Provide a list of your current medications to your urologist during your appointment. Medications such as calcium-channel blockers (which could be used to treat high blood pressure or even migraines) can impact your fertility. Other medications that could impact your fertility include anabolic steroids, antibiotics, and antihistamine drugs. Talk with your doctor about past and present medication use to help determine if any of your medications could be hindering your sperm’s vitality, and what the alternatives are.
During your appointment for male infertility, your doctor will also check to ensure that your hormone levels are normal. Although hormone problems aren’t a common cause of male infertility, they can happen based on several factors.
Talk with your doctor about male infertility. You may need to make a few lifestyle changes, change your medications, or quit smoking to increase your chances of success with conception. Male infertility is nothing to be embarrassed about and is a problem your urologist commonly treats. Discuss with your urologist so that you and your partner can be on your way to having a healthy, natural conception!