Men Struggle With Fertility Too
When the topic of infertility arises, most people think that female fertility is the reason. However, men have infertility at equal rates as women. Infertility happens when an individual or couple cannot conceive naturally after 12 months of trying. Several reasons affect male fertility. Some of these are common health conditions that millions of men face every year.
1. Obesity can lead to infertility
On average, 40% of men in America are considered overweight or obese. Simply put, obesity is the accumulation of excess body fat, usually a BMI of 30 or higher. This additional weight can lead to a range of issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers. Obesity can have a severe impact on fertility. Excess weight affects testosterone production, which in turn impacts sperm production. Obese men are also more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.
2. Diabetic men are also at risk
Diabetes happens when there is an excess amount of glucose in the blood. The body cannot produce enough insulin to process blood sugar in most cases. As a result, diabetes leads to complications like heart attack, stroke or kidney failure. In addition, excess blood sugar can affect hormone production, increase androgens, and even impact blood flow. Common conditions include erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation and low testosterone.
3. Varicocele stops sperm production
With varicocele, one or more veins in the scrotum become enlarged. This enlargement affects the blood flow to the testicles needed to create sperm. Varicocele can be painful and, in some cases, can reduce sperm count and quality. About 15% of adult men have varicocele. A physical test or ultrasound can help doctors pinpoint the condition and provide treatment.
Diagnosing your fertility troubles
Couples struggling to conceive should see a reproductive endocrinologist or fertility specialist. This medical expert can assess, diagnose, and help treat the root cause of infertility. Diagnosis will start with an assessment of overall health, which can help the doctor find a link to fertility. If there are no known diseases, the doctor can further request hormone testing, sperm testing, and ultrasounds. Once the root causes are discovered, the proper treatment can take place.
Helping you to conceive
For most men, infertility is not a dead end. There is a range of methods to improve the chances of fertility. Some of these involve certain lifestyle changes. For instance, obese men who reduce body weight can improve the chances of fertility. The same goes for diabetic men who control blood sugar. If there’s a physical issue, in the case of varicocele, surgical intervention can help. Other common fertility treatments include IUI, IVF, and ICSI. These have great success rates and fall under the umbrella of assisted reproductive techniques (ART).