Articles on male infertility

Infertility Factors in Males and Females

Dr. Kaushal Kadam, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
In medical terms, infertility is referred to as a woman’s inability to conceive, even after a year of unprotected intercourse. Although infertility is considered to be a concern often associated with women, not many people know that male-related infertility accounts for one-third of the cases. Studies also indicate that the infertility cause remains unidentified in 25% of couples planning to have a baby.Here are some common and not-so-common factors of female and male infertility:Infertility in WomenCommon Factors·      Tubal Disease – damage or blockage of the Fallopian tubes.·      Ovulatory dysfunction or an ovulation – egg is not released from the ovary every month.·      Endometriosis – affects the function of the Fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries.·      Uterine or cervical abnormalities – abnormalities in the shape or cavity of the uterus or problems with the opening/closing of the cervix.·      Gynecological problems - previous ectopic pregnancy or more than one miscarriage.Less Common Factors·      Premature menopause·      Use of medications that induce temporary infertility·      Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)·      Absence of menstruationInfertility in MenCommon Factors·      Low sperm count or quality·      Problems with the delivery of sperm·      Erectile dysfunction·      Premature ejaculationLess Common Factors·      Inflammation of testes (Orchitis)·      Blocked testicle(s)·      Any drug treatment or exposure to chemotherapy, saunas or hot tubsSome common factors which can lead to infertility issues in both men and women are:·      Genetic abnormalities·      Lifestyle factors such as being overweight, stress, smoking, drugs or contact with/ingestion of harmful chemicals.·      Medical conditions like diabetes, epilepsy and thyroid (mostly in women).·      Age-related infertility - though it affects females more (after the age of 35), males suffer from it too.Medical tests could help to determine the actual cause of infertility, and artificial treatment options available to the couple thereafter.

Watch Out for These Infertility Symptoms

Dr. Swetha Thumula, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Am I infertile? This is the toughest question that some of us have to face while we try to conceive. Infertility cannot be identified until a couple tries to have a baby. Though it is mostly associated with women, male infertility is equally common. If you are trying to have a baby (having unprotected sex) for over a year without success, you may be suffering from infertility. Women over 35 need to see a doctor if they fail to conceive after six months of trying. Younger women may wait for a year or so before they seek professional help. However, seeing a doctor earlier makes solutions easier. Here are some infertility symptoms that you may help you to identify your problem.Some prominent infertility symptoms in womenInfertility symptoms greatly vary as they depend upon the causes. Here are some common infertility symptoms in women.Unusual heavy or light menstrual bleedingIrregular period; the number of days varies every monthNo period at all or excessive pain during periodsChange in sex driveLoss or thinning of hairSudden change in hair colour or acneAbnormal hair growth over the lips, on the chin, on the chestSudden weight gainPainful intercourseMilky discharge from the nipples that is not relevant to breast feedingSome prominent infertility symptoms in menA large number of men still don’t believe that too can have infertility issues. However, if you see any of these symptoms happening to you, it is time to see your doctor. These might be some infertility symptoms.Sudden thinning of hair leading to baldingChange in sex driveLumps or pain in testiclesSmall and hard testiclesErectile dysfunction of ejaculatory disorderIf you find any of these infertility symptoms, see your doctor immediately. Fertility treatments yield better results if they are started earlier.

Preserve Fertility to Ward-Off Infertility Treatment

Dr. Bhavatej Enganti, Urologist
They best way to avoid an infertility treatment is to protect your fertility. Infertility is the newest form of epidemic that is estimated to trouble one out of every six couples. Infertility problems do not surface until a couple tries to conceive. It is important to know about the reasons behind infertility and the ways to prevent it. This will help you shun the chances of going for a infertility treatment in future.Here are some tips that can help prevent infertilityMinimize the exposure to chemicals – Chemicals like Ovotoxicant, Endocrin Disraptors, Pthalates, VCH, PAH that are mostly present in cigarettes, car fumes, road tar, pesticides, plastic food containers etc. These are responsible for hormonal imbalance, ovulation malfunction, miscarriages, PCOS, endometriosis etc in women.Pesticides (found in non-organic food and unfiltered water), Formaldehyde (found in floor polishes, air fresheners, deodorants etc), Bisphenols (found in plastic containers, dry-cleaning chemicals, paint fumes, petroleum based liquids found in household products etc. are especially harmful for men.Stay away from unfiltered water – The water for daily use is open to all types of contamination. Hence, a duel filtration system is mandatory both for the kitchen and the shower. Yes, in the shower as well, as the chemical may seep in through your skin or respiratory system while bathing.Stick to a fertility diet –Add nuts, vegetables, seasonal fruits (all organic stuff), seeds, grains, legumes (not canned), organic meat, sea fishes etc to your platter. Cook food in olive oil, clarified butter (ghee) and for all non-heated oil requirements use flaxseed oil, nut or olive oil. Stay away from animal estrogen and the dangerous Trans fats found in doughnuts, candies, fries, pies, chocolates, chips etc.Get checked for STD– The preconception schedule must begin with a thorough check up for STDs in both partners. Chlamydia is the most common form of STD that cause sperm abnormalities and develops sperm antibodies in men. In women it may cause scarring, miscarriages and blocked Fallopian tubes.Follow a prescribed preconception plan – We often do not understand that sperm cells and eggs needs time to mature. Hence, it is important to follow a proper preconception plan for at least 4 months before you try to conceive. This will allow improving the quality of both the sperm and eggs and ensuring the embryo they form is healthy.Say not to addictions– Unhealthy addictions can harm the fertility in both genders to a great extent. An extended study revealed that 2-3 cups of coffee daily can bring down women fertility rate to nearly zero. They are twice more prone to miscarriages.Cigarettes, alcohol and drugs may bring down the sperm count and motility rate in men to a great extent. Hence, if you are planning a family, stay really far from your addictions.Ask your doctor for pregnancy and pre-conception supplements– No matter how healthy are your platter; your body is not likely to get all the required nutrients needed for the proper growth of your baby. To ensure that you have a successful and healthy pregnancy, pregnancy and pre-conception supplements are mandatory. These supplements prepare your body to conceive and give birth to a healthy child.These tips will help you boost your fertility naturally and restrain yourself from seeking infertility treatment in future. Still have doubt? Get in touch with your fertility expert to know more about preserving and boosting your fertility.

Vitamin Therapy for Infertility

Dr. Swetha Thumula, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
‘Vitamins keep us healthy’, is a perpetual fact. But how many of us actually know that vitamins can also make us fertile and productive? Vitamins are very closely associated with human fertility. People dining on more of these nutrients are generally more fertile than those who succumb to taste than health.Now, let’s have a closer look on how these nutrients can pave our way towards aspiring fruitful parenthood.Vitamin D – According to a research conducted in 2008, men suffering from infertility were also found to have vitamin D deficiency. According to Dr. Anna Clarke, a fertility expert and the lead researcher in conducting the study, vitamin D was always very closely associated with female infertility but this study revealed that this nutrient was equally needed for fathers-to-be.A screening was done with 100 men, who were asked to change their lifestyle for good. They quit smoking, kept off from alcohol and caffeine, lost weight and consumed a lot of vitamins and antioxidants. 11 of them were able to impregnate their partners naturally without any treatment.In another research conducted in 2009, revealed that there are Vitamin D receptors in human sperms. Vitamin D is locally present in the human sperm and may be responsible for signalling the cells in the human reproductiveVitamin C – It was also proved that 1000 mg of Vitamin C intake daily improves the sperm quality, motility and morphology and thereby increasing the chance of natural conception.Vitamins E and B12 – These have been found very useful for a better sperm motility rate. A study published in Archives of Andrology supports the fact as well.Zinc – Men suffering from lower testosterone level saw a significant improvement after taking properly diagnosed doses of zinc for up to six weeks. Most of their female partners got pregnant naturally during the course.Antioxidants – In a research conducted at the University of Portsmouth, a bowl of tomato soup, rich in Lycopene, consumed daily can increase male fertility up to 12 percent. The antioxidants are found to remove the free radicals that adversely affect fertility in men.People intending on natural conception must include lots of fruits, nuts and cereals in their daily diet. However, in spite of eating healthy and leading a disciplined life, couples may have infertility issues. See a fertility specialist to know the actual reason behind your infertility and find a solution to overcome it.

Smoking and Infertility

Dr. Sonu Balhara Ahlawat, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
•Available data indicate that up to 13% of infertility may be attributable to cigarette smoking.•Smoking appears to accelerate the loss of reproductive function and may advance the time of menopause by 1 to 4 years.•Evidence indicates that semen parameters and results of sperm function tests are 22% poorer in smokers than in nonsmokers and the effects are dose-dependent, but smoking has not yet been conclusively shown to reduce male fertility.•Smoking is associated with increased risks of spontaneous abortion and ectopic pregnancy.•Gamete mutagenesis is one possible mechanism whereby smoking may adversely affect fecundity and reproductive performance.•Smokers require nearly twice the number of IVF attempts to conceive as nonsmokers.•Nonsmokers with excessive exposure to tobacco smoke may have reproductive consequences as great as those observed in smokers.•Cessation of smoking can be facilitated by providing education, monitoring, and consistent individualized support.                                                                                                                                                                        Source - https://www.asrm.org/FullAccess/

Thyroid and Female Infertility

Dr. Swetha Thumula, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Over a million people across the world suffer from thyroid problems. In most cases people take thyroid issues very casually. This is because people are unaware of the fact, that thyroid can be the reason behind other serious ailments. Most women undergoing treatment for female infertility have been diagnosed with severe thyroid malfunctionality. If thyroid goes untreated, it can become the greatest reason behind infertility in both men and women.The cellular functions in our body are regulated by the thyroid hormones. The abnormality in these hormones may lead to infertility in both sexes and recurrent miscarriages in women. The Indian Thyroid Society has the opinion that nearly 70 percent of the women suffering from PMS or premenstrual syndromes are diagnosed to suffer from low thyroid levels. The low level of thyroid hormones reduces the production of progesterone giving rise to PMS symptoms in women. This has lead to thyroid testing become an integral part of the treatment for female infertility.Hypothyroidism or under active thyroid glands that does not produce enough hormones, has been directly linked to female fertility. The low level of thyroids intervenes with ovulation and cause infertility. Moreover, hypothyroidism may also cause autoimmune or pituitary disorders and give rise to infertility in women. Standard thyroid test may not always also detect the low level of ovarian tissues. Special detection methods as the part of treatment for female fertility are required to detect whether thyroid is causing infertility or not.Symptoms of Thyroid AbnormalitiesWeight gainFatigueConstipationMuscle and joint paintsIrregular or abnormal periodsSleeplessnessSkin drynessHair may become thin and coarseEyebrows may shed and nails might become brittleWomen enduring these symptoms must get in touch with a doctor and go for TSH. However, hypothyroidism can be controlled with thyroid supplements that can restore fertility. It is advisable to keep monitoring the thyroid levels at regular intervals and continue the prescribed medication. This is important even you are considering a treatment for female infertility.Tips to overcome thyroid problems:Losing weight and lowering the level of stress30 minutes daily walk and avoiding elevatorsConsulting doctor immediately if any of the above mentioned symptoms are felt or seenA healthy and active lifestyle, balanced diet and regular checkups will keep your thyroids glands performing well.

Does Masturbation Cause Male Infertility?

Dr. Bhavatej Enganti, Urologist
Does masturbation causes infertility in men? The simple answer to this is ‘No’. Masturbation is referred to the stimulation of own genitals for sexual arousal. This in no way can hinder the changes of fathering children. However, if a couple is planning to have a baby, the male partner, needs to restrict his masturbation. This is because masturbation in men leads to ejaculation and if you are planning a baby, you must converse your sperms to impregnate your partner.When a man masturbates till completion, he ends up ejaculating the semen. For a man who masturbates more often will obviously have lower volume of semen in his ejaculate compared to men who don’t. Masturbating quite often will bring down the quantity of semen per ejaculate and you will have to wait for a certain time period till it is restored. Moreover, masturbating may make you feel tired and drained out and you might lose energy and urge of having an intercourse.There has been a lot of research on the topic of masturbation and its relation with male infertility. These studies came back with mixed results, with data on both sides of the fence. Some suggested that men should refrain from masturbating if he wants to get a woman pregnant. But most of them voiced that masturbation can in no way make a man infertile.Another very common myth associated with male masturbation is that it causes erectile dysfunction in men. This is far from being true. Masturbating cannot cause erectile dysfunctions. However, men who are habituated with continuous self-pleasure may sometime find it difficult to attain orgasm with his partner. This may lead to some problems when it comes to starting a family and having a baby.To conclude, it is not true that masturbation leads to infertility in men. But frequent masturbation may lead to problem related to conception. Limiting self-pleasure can do a lot to sort out these problems. But if the problem persists and you cannot get your partner pregnant even after you have refrained from masturbating; get in touch with your fertility expert without any further delay.

Male Erectile Disorder or the Dreaded Impotence in Men

Dr. Ramesh Maheshwari, Sexologist
Persistent or recurrent inability to attain, or to maintain until completion of sexual activity, an adequate erection. This is also know as erectile dysfunction.The disorder may cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty. There are different patterns. Some individuals report inability to obtain erection from the beginning of sexual experience; while others report being able to experience erection only during masturbation or on awakening, but not during the coitus. Some experience adequate erection, lose it when attempting penetration. Still other report that they have an erection that is sufficiently firm for penetration, but they lose erection before or during thrusting.Male erectile disorder is frequently associated with anxiety, fear of failure, pressure of sexual performance, and decreased sexual excitement and pleasure. This can disrupt marital relationship and may be the cause of unconsummated marriage and infertility.Causes: Ageing: With advancing age,The orgasm is less intensive,The ejaculate is reducedThe interval between the two successive acts is increased.Psychological factors: Fatigue,Depression,Stress,Mental disorders,Guilt,Fear of failure,Low self esteemReligious restrictionsHomosexualityLong/serious illnessTraumatic initial experienceNegative feelings towards the partnerVascular causesUse of tobacco/AlcoholAtherosclerosisPeyronie’s diseaseDiabetesHypertensionVenous leak or occlusionTraumaSurgeryRadiationHormonal causes: HypogonadismHyperprolactinemiaDiabetesThyroid diseaseAndrogen deficiencyEstrogen excess Adrenal pituitary of Hypothalamic diseaseNeurogenic causes:Peripheral NeuritisAutonomic neuropathy (in Diabetes)Multiple sclerosisSpinal cord diseaseDrug related causes:AntiandrogensH2receptor antagonistsDiureticsAntihypertensiveAnticholinergicsAntidepressantsAntipsychoticsCNS DepressantsSubstance abuseMiscellaneous:Renal failureProstatectomyDiagnostic testsStamp Test: A long strip of postal stamps is wound around the base of the penis at night before going to bed. Next morning if the perforations of the strip are found to be torn off, impotence is supposed to be of psychological in origin.Peno-brachial index: The ratio of penile systolic blood pressure to that of brachial systolic blood pressure is normally 0.6. If found to be low, impotence is vascular in origin. Papaverine Injection Test:  Papaverine is a vasoactive drug. Using a 26 gauge needle, 30 mg papaverine is injected at the mid-shift of Corpus cavernosum of penis. He is isolated, asked to stoke the penis and expose to erotic literature. Erection will occur in 10 to 15 minutes. If the erection is short-lived or partial, then impotence is considered as vasculogenic.  If the erection is full, then impotence is considered to be neurogenic or psychogenic in origin.Caution : This test should be performed in a hospital setting or where the facilities for detumescence  are available. The patient should be observed for next few hours till the erection subsides.Rigiscan Test: This is a gold standard for evaluation of Nocturnal Penile Tumescence and Rigidity (NPTR). This test is based on the physiological principle that a male gets erection 3 to 5 times during REM sleep. At night, before going to sleep one ring of Rigiscan is slid over the base of the penis and the over the tip. Next morning, the tracing obtained are studied. This test can quantify erectile tumescence and rigidity. Rigiscan tracing indicates whether the impotence is organic or psychological in origin.Arterial insufficiency  and venous leaks can also be suspected on the basis of Rigiscan graphs. Patients with purely artery disease have low levels of rigidity but of adequate duration. Patients with venous leak will have varying rigidity levels with shortened duration.Penile Ultrasound : This test is for evaluation of functioning of the penile areteries. A simple acoustic Doppler emits auditory signals or a colour Doppler can help visualization of arteries. Cavernosometry  & cavernosography: This haemodynamic  test is useful for diagnosing veno-occlusive dysfunction of the corpora. Biothesiometry, electromyography , nerve conduction studies: These are for evaluation of neurogenic impotence.TreatmentCounselingSexual dysfunction is a marital unit problem and therefore both, husband and wife, should attend. Counselling is towards strengthening marital relationship. Wife is requested to co-operate. Client is requested to quit smoking and alcohol. He is advised relaxation exercise, yoga. The couple is educated about anatomy, physiology of sexual organs sexuality are countered. Their myths and misconceptions about  sexuality are countered. They are also explained that he does not have to do anything to have an erection. Erection is a physiological response to effective stimuli.

Sexual Problems in Infertility- Make Sure That It's Not Diabetes

Dr. Sujoy Dasgupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Scenario one: Mr PS, 35 years old, married for 5 years, now planning to have a child, suddenly felt that his erection of penis is not as good as it was earlier. initially he tried medicines shown in TV and newspaper and then many treatments through internet. but his problems persisted. Finally when he came to doctor, he was diagnosed to have ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION. Finally after checking, when doctor advised him blood test, it revealed high blood sugar and then he was advised anti-diabetic drugs. After starting this, his sexual performance improved much better.So, what went wrong? Erectile dysfunction may be an early indication of diabetes. So, if you feel such problems, never ignore it and never feel ashamed to talk to doctor. If you try medicines shown in TV/ newspaper, your problem will persist and the diabetes may go to such point that your life will be threatened. So, never ignore such problem, however embarrassing it might be.Scenario two: Mrs AM, a 42 years old lady having two children, gradually feeling of low sexual urge. Her husband tried many things but nothing worked. She also had repeated attacks of vaginal infections. After trying many things by themselves, they consulted doctor. And the cause of her LOW SEX DRIVE and VAGINAL INFECTION was found to be uncontrolled diabetes. And the story was same. She was put on insulin therapy and her conditions improved. But if she came earlier, she could have avoided insulin therapy.So, if any male or female is experiencing low sex desire, he or she should not try various types of treatments by themselves. Proper diagnosis is necessary, so that life threatening diseases are not missed. And as you all know, diabetes can sometimes be life-threatening. So, just imagine, a situation for which you feel embarrassed to talk to doctor, can endanger your life.Scenario three: Mr MQ, a 30 years old male, is feeling pain and discomfort during intercourse and also sometimes during urination. He thought it may solve automatically after marriage. But it did not. And then he also had bleeding sometimes during intercourse and the pain increased. When he presented to doctor, doctor diagnosed it as a case of tight foreskin or PHIMOSIS. And the next day blood sugar was found to be very high. He was cured by circumcision after controlling blood sugar level with insulin. But after that he was found to have problems in retina and kidney. These are all because of diabetes. had he not ignored Phimosis, he could have avoided these complications of diabetes (retinopathy and nephropathy).So, if you feel any problems, particularly infections in private parts, do not ignore them Consult doctor and try to find out the cause.Scenario four:. Mrs AR, 32 years female, having REPEATED MISCARRIAGE in previous three pregnancies. No apparent cause was found. Then blood sugar test was done properly and she was found to have very high blood sugar. Then she was advised to avoid pregnancy until sugar was controlled. She followed the advice and then conceived fourth time when blood sugar was normal. Then she delivered a baby who was totally normal.So, if any couple is experiencing repeated miscarriage, they should test for diabetes first.So, never feel that diabetes is merely a disease of sugar. It can affect every organ and system. So, if you feel any problems in personal or conjugal life, however embarrassing to you it might be, never feel ashamed, rather consult doctor and have proper diagnosis done. A stitch in time saves nine.