7 Reasons For Low Sperm Count: How Low Is Too Low?

low sperm count

Men are not often driven by their sperm quantities. It is the thing which you might not worry about until you begin to notice less sperm secretion. Whereas, when it comes to expanding your family it does matter a lot and you might be thinking about it all the time. The sperm count in a man is a critical factor in describing his fertility condition.

It’s pretty amazing to know that it only takes a single sperm to fertilize the egg in a woman’s body. But it depends on the probability of which single sperm out of millions would be able to make it to the egg. It takes about three months for a sperm to mature in the testicles and then be able to fertilize the eggs in the female body.

Reasons For Lower Sperm Count

Lower sperm count, which is also known as oligospermia, has been known as a major cause for male infertility. The average sperm count is 75 million sperms per ml of semen. If below 15 million sperms per ml of semen is detected then it is considered as low sperm count and it should not be neglected. There are special tests and medications which help in diagnosing this problem.

1. Not Getting Enough Exercise And Sleep

  • Obese men or those who don’t get enough rest in their regular lives are prone to experience lower sperm count. It is important to maintain healthy body hormone levels for better functioning of the reproduction system.
  • Obesity is also considered as the factor which results in the infertility of a male. Hence, it becomes important to exercise daily to produce a good number of hormones and give out sperms generously during ejaculation.
  • Taking a considerable amount of rest every day helps to maintain the hormonal levels resulting in better functioning of the male reproductive system.

2. Mental Health

  • It is important to live a stress-free life for better functioning of the human body. This also helps maintain normal levels of hormones that are directly related to the reproductive system.
  • Mental health has always shown adverse effects on the hormonal levels and hence it should not be neglected if you are planning to expand your family or are facing some reproductive dysfunction.

3. Smoking

  • It has been observed that those who consume plenty of tobacco are tested to have lower sperm quality than those who do not. Nicotine clogs the arteries and makes it harder for the body to work in unison to produce sperm
  • Hence, it becomes important to put regulations over one’s smoking habits. It should also be avoided for better hormone functionality.

4. Medical Reasons

  • Men going through radiation treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation surgery may also observe effects on their hormone and sperm levels. The radiations might kill the sperm-producing cells and hence lower the sperm count.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may result in vein blockages and other specific reproductive system malfunctions resulting in infertility.
  • The male body having serious immune level dysfunction may observe a reduction in sperm quality.
  • Long-term medication for infectious diseases can also affect sperm count.

5. Harmful Prescriptions

  • There are notable studies that explain how some medications taken for a long time may result in the misfunctioning of the male reproductive system.
  • There are many types of medications that should not be taken if you are facing reproductive dysfunction. You should consult your doctor if you face lower sperm count and believe that it is because of your current on-going medications.

Some drugs that can lead to interactions with your sperm count are:

  • Anti-androgens
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Antipsychotics
  • Opiates
  • Antidepressants
  • Anabolic steroids, which may continue to affect sperm count for up to 1 year after stopping the medication
  • Exogenous or supplementary testosterone
  • Methadone

6. Environmental Effects

  • It is surprising to know that normal temperature for naturally storing the sperm inside a male’s body is lower than that of normal human body temperature.
  • The male reproductive system is designed in such a way that sperms are stored in a sack-like structure hanging between the thighs to meet the required temperature conditions.
  • Exposing the testicles to heat may result in reducing the sperm levels. Hence, testicles should not be exposed to warm temperatures.

7. Not Getting Enough Vitamins And Minerals

  • It is important to have healthy vitamin and mineral levels in your body for better functioning of hormones.
  • The disturbed hormonal level may affect the functioning of the reproduction system and might cause lower sperm count too.

How To Know Your Sperm Count?

There are plenty of medical tests available which include the analysis of sperm levels. One of them is the Semen Analysis.

Semen Analysis

Low sperm count is one of the factors that is considered while diagnosing semen-related problems. It is done by observing the semen sample under a microscope for gathering the count in the form of the number of sperms per square grid of semen sample on the slide.

It is known that sperms are produced in testicles and takes about 46-72 days for the maturing process. It reflects that the semen sample collected today may show the levels from the past three months but may not show the current trend in your sperm levels if you took any preventive measures.

This is the reason that doctors always run multiple tests after a certain period to know the sperm production trends in your body. It is the only way to know the accurately identity the current sperm count situation.

Doctors provide measures which should be taken care of while collecting the samples:

  • The entire ejaculated sample must be collected in the sample collection cup.
  • There should be a gap of at least two days from masturbating before collecting the samples. But it should not exceed 11 days.
  • There should be a collection of a second sample after the two weeks of collecting the first sample.
  • You should avoid using lubricants as they might show adverse effects on sperm quality and lead to inaccurate results.

WHO has provided as a defined range for semen analysis:

  • Total sperm count existing during ejaculation – 39–928 million
  • Sperm concentration after ejaculation -15–259 million per mL

The above data shows that anything lower than 15 million per ml of semen may result in low sperm count. Special measures should be taken for improving the sperm levels up to the required standards.

It is important to take care of your physical as well as mental health for better functioning of the reproductive system. Also, educating yourself about the measures and precautions is always necessary.

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