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10 Reasons That Cause Low Sperm Count

Infertility among men is at a rise these days. Unhealthy lifestyle, stress and improper diet are some of the major causes of low sperm count. Although it doesn't pose any hindrance in fooling around under the sheets, becoming pregnant is difficult if the sperm count of the man is low. According to many studies, every 1 out of 10 couples suffer from fertility problems and the reason is low sperm count in men. The facts state, to conceive the male partner has to release at least 40 million sperms per ejaculation [1] .

Many young men, even men in their early 30s, suffer from low sperm count. The main reason why your sperm count is low is an improper lifestyle. In some cases, birth defects or some illnesses might interfere with the production of sperm. But mostly, it is nothing other than an unhealthy lifestyle that is making men impotent these days [2] .

In the current article, we will take a look at some of the most common factors that cause a low sperm count in men apart from the medical causes such as infections, ejaculation problems, varicocele, antibodies that attack sperm, tumours, undescended testicles, hormone imbalances, chromosome defects, defects of tubules that transport sperm, celiac disease, prior surgeries and certain medications (testosterone replacement therapy, long-term anabolic steroid use, cancer medications (chemotherapy), certain antifungal and antibiotic medications etc.) [3] [4] .


1. Obesity

With growing urbanization and unhealthy lifestyle choices, the chances of becoming obese are always high. Many health problems are associated with obesity and one such problem is poor functioning of sexual glands. In females, obesity has been associated with increased production of a hormone (oestrogen) and in men, it has been associated with decreased sperm count. Many studies have found that obese men have reduced testicular function and sperm count.


2. Alcohol

Studies have linked chronic alcohol abuse to infertility. Binge drinking can cause impotence and affect sperm quality because the alcohol prevents the body from absorbing zinc which is one of the most important minerals in the formation of the sperm cell.


3. Drug Use

Various studies have linked low sperm count with that of drug abuse. It has proven through a study that about 33 per cent of men who use drugs will have low sperm counts. And, the use of opiates like oxycontin and fentanyl affect hormone levels and can lead to DNA problems as well.


4. Stress

Stress and increasing tension amongst men are some of the most common reasons for a low sperm count as it can interfere with certain hormones needed to produce sperm. Severe levels of stress along with that of problems with fertility can affect your sperm count. Studies point out that, psychological stress is harmful to sperm and semen quality, affecting its concentration, appearance, and ability to fertilize an egg.


5. Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, which is often caused by overweight or obesity is another major cause of low sperm count. Studies have linked the health condition with lower testosterone levels and infertility. However, diabetes does not affect the motility of sperm, that is, the ability of the sperm to move towards the egg or cause infertility as a result.


6. Tight Briefs

Though researchers have found that briefs do not have a major effect on lowering the sperm count they advocate that boxers are better than briefs. The reason behind this is that briefs are tight-fitting and wearing them for long periods can overheat the testes, which in turn can lower your sperm count.


7. Mobile Phones

A study has found that men who use cell phones for more than fours hours a day had significantly lower sperm count. It is because men usually carry their phones in their pants pocket that exposes the testes to their mobile radiation and poses a negative effect on sperm count.


8. Hot Tub Bath

Although it may sound silly - it is true! A hot tub bath can lower your sperm count. To function properly human testes have to stay cooler when compared to the rest of the body. If the temperature of the testicles rises above 98 degrees then it could destroy male sperms.


9. Soy Products

Studies indicate that men who increasingly consume soy products have a low sperm count. It is asserted that the isoflavones from soy products might lower sperm count by interfering with other hormonal signals that drive sperm production in the testes.


10. Steroids

Steroids that are often taken to build muscles and add body mass affects your reproductive health in several ways. It causes one's testicles to shrink and sperm count to fall below the required count.


On A Final Note…

If you are having trouble conceiving and your partner is diagnosed with male factor infertility, some treatments can help in addition to lifestyle factors. Some of the easy ways to improve one's sperm count are by adopting a healthy lifestyle devoid of alcohol and binge eating, as well as with a good amount of exercise and meditation to relieve yourself of stress.

View Article References
  1. [1] Ferlin, A., Garolla, A., Ghezzi, M., Selice, R., Palego, P., Caretta, N., ... & Sartori, L. (2019). Sperm count and hypogonadism as markers of general male health. European urology focus.
  2. [2] Hass, U., Christiansen, S., Boberg, J., Rasmussen, M. G., Mandrup, K., & Axelstad, M. (2016). Low‐dose effect of developmental bisphenol A exposure on sperm count and behaviour in rats. Andrology, 4(4), 594-607.
  3. [3] Schilling, R. (2017). Decreased Sperm Counts In Men.
  4. [4] Amaya-Fuentes, R., Young, H., Irwin, C., Crites, J., Moody, D., & Perry, M. (2019). Measuring the Effects of THC on Human Sperm Parameters Using Biomonitoring Analysis.
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