Infertility is a condition where you cannot get pregnant after one year of trying to conceive consistently. Infertility causes can range from hereditary to lifestyle factors. A lot of the time, infertility is coined as a “women’s problem”, however that is incorrect. Both women and men can be infertile, and generally speaking, it occurs at a very similar rate in both genders. NIH suggests that in one-third of infertile couples, the problem is with the man, in another one-third, the problem is with the woman, and in the other one-third, the problem can’t be identified or is with both the man and woman. Continue reading to learn about four infertility causes and symptoms in men.
Infertility Causes and Symptoms In Men
Infertility in men can be caused by several things, including low sperm count, abnormal sperm function, blockages, chronic health problems, and lifestyle choices. The infertility journey can feel lonely, but rest assured, you’re not alone. The CDC even suggests that an estimated 7% of men are affected by infertility. Infertility causes and symptoms can sometimes be difficult to identify, but it is essential to be educated on what your body is trying to tell you. A few key infertility causes and symptoms in men are described below.
- Retrograde Ejaculation
Retrograde ejaculation, also called a dry orgasm, is when semen goes backward into your bladder instead of through the urethra and out the tip of the penis. This condition often affects those who:
- Have issues with your circular muscle (bladder sphincter)
- Have diabetes or multiple sclerosis
- Are taking certain medications
- Have had surgery on their prostate, urethra, or spinal cord
Because with retrograde ejaculation you produce little to no semen, conceiving can be very difficult. Luckily, infertility procedures that use reproductive technology can help to get your partner pregnant.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, gynecomastia is a benign condition of overdevelopment or enlargement of breast tissue in boys or men. This is often due to a change in female hormone levels, estrogen, and male hormone levels, testosterone. Gynecomastia can also be due to certain medications, chemotherapy, drug use, or other diseases and medical conditions.
If you are experiencing abnormal breast growth, a decrease in facial or body hair, or other symptoms that may indicate a hormonal disorder, it is recommended to reach out to your doctor. These hormonal changes may indicate a lower than normal sperm count, which can be a male factor for infertility.
- Urethral Stricture
Also known as a penis clog, a urethral stricture is caused due to inflammation or injury which irritates the inner lining of the urethra. This causes scar tissue to form, which narrows the opening in the penis. This can result in your penis feeling clogged. Some symptoms of a urethral stricture include:
- Reduced or slow urine stream
- Dark urine
- Blood in the urine
- Swelling of the penis
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above or urinating has become painful, it is important to make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Leaving a urethral stricture can cause serious problems and lead to infertility.
- Lifestyle Factors
Have you and your partner been trying to conceive but having no luck? It may be time to turn your attention to lifestyle factors. Some lifestyle factors that can impact fertility include:
- Poor nutrition
- Overweight or obesity
- Eating disorders or being underweight
- Lack of exercise
- Psychological effects
- Cigarette smoking
- Illicit drug use
Engaging in these activities can be detrimental to the success rate of you and your partner trying to conceive. Opting for healthy lifestyle factors is a great starting point in your journey to combating infertility causes.
Understanding infertility causes as a man is equally as important in your and your partner’s journey to conceive. At Carolinas Fertility Institute, we are dedicated to helping you build your family with personalized care and attention. If you are struggling to get pregnant, we can work with you to devise a personalized treatment plan. Call us at (336) 448-9100 to make an appointment in the Triad or (844) 686-2233 for our Charlotte office.