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Although infertility research and medical services have traditionally focused on women, fertility issues crop up just as often in men. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 40% of infertile couples are unable to conceive because the man’s sperm production is less than optimal.
The first and most obvious sign of male infertility is the inability for couples to get pregnant. There may be no other symptoms unless the infertility is caused by a hormonal problem, in which case reduced facial and body hair growth or low sex drive may be the tip off.
CAUSES & CONDITIONS
- Genetic abnormalities
- Hormone deficiency or surplus
- Infections of the prostate, testes or epididymis (tubes that store and carry sperm)
- Older age
- Previous chemotherapy
- Previous scarring due to infection (including sexually transmitted diseases), trauma or surgery
- Radiation exposure
- Environmental pollutants
- Exposure to high heat for prolonged periods
- Retrograde ejaculation (dry orgasm)
- Heavy use of alcohol, marijuana or cocaine
- Use of certain prescription drugs
- Poor nutrition
- Being overweight or too thin
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Problems with sexual function — for example, difficulty with ejaculation or small volumes of fluid ejaculated
- Reduced sexual desire or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area
- Recurrent respiratory infections
- Inability to smell
- Abnormal breast growth (gynecomastia)
- Decreased facial or body hair or other signs of a chromosomal or hormonal abnormality
- Having a lower than normal sperm count (fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen or a total sperm count of less than 39 million per ejaculate)
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