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Evaluating Your Fertility

For many people, just talking about issues with infertility can be a source of frustration, insecurity, and embarrassment. But, infertility is a global problem, affecting 48 million couples and nearly 200 million individuals worldwide. If you’re dealing with these issues, know that of those numbers, about 9% of men in the United States have reported issues with infertility. That’s nearly 30 million people (29,871,193) aged 44 and under struggling to have children for a variety of reasons. So you are most certainly not alone in your struggle. 

Getting help for fertility issues may seem frustrating and embarrassing, but it is treatable. Patients living in the Santa Monica, California, area can get treatment for male infertility along with many other urological conditions from Dr. Mark Kelly.

What can cause infertility?

For you to be able to conceive a child with your partner, your body must be able to manage four basic things: produce healthy sperm, carry the sperm into your semen, have enough sperm in the semen, and have sperm that is able to move properly through the body. Male infertility refers to a condition that can be caused by a number of things:

Sperm disorders

Anything that affects the production or shape of your sperm can create problems with having children. Infections, hormone problems, pituitary gland issues, and genetic disease can all affect the shape and quantity of the sperm your body produces, contributing to infertility.

Structural conditions

Conditions that block or stop the flow of semen can also cause your problems with infertility. Infections can also cause this, along with any inflammation from certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), varicoceles (a swelling of the veins that drain the testicles), injuries or trauma that cause defects in the tubes that carry sperm, and many other issues.

Cancer related complications

If you’re dealing with cancer, tumors (malignant or not) can affect the glands that release hormones necessary in reproduction. Surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy can also affect fertility.

Lifestyle-related issues

Smoking and alcohol abuse can lower sperm count, and even secondhand smoke can affect fertility. Abuse of drugs like anabolic steroids can cause the testicles to shrink and lower sperm production. Emotional distress, depression, and obesity can all play a part in sperm production and directly affect your ability to reproduce.

Environmental conditions can also affect sperm production, conditions like industrial chemicals, heavy metal exposure, radiation, X-rays, and even elevated temperatures from saunas or hot tubs. Even sitting for long periods, wearing tight clothing and working extensively with a laptop in your lap can affect temperature and affect your sperm count.

What treatments are available?

There are different methods available for treating your male infertility, depending on the cause. A basic solution you can use for treatment is a change in lifestyle. This often includes reducing smoking and drinking, reducing or stopping certain medications that may contribute to fertility issues, and starting a healthier diet and exercise regimen. 

Some medications are available to help increase testicular function and sperm count, to help with increasing chances of a successful pregnancy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove blockages that can cause lower sperm production. Sperm retrieval can be used to obtain sperm when ejaculation is a problem or if there is no sperm present when you ejaculate.

Getting an evaluation of your overall health as well as fertility tests can help you understand underlying causes for infertility and get the help you need. If you’re dealing with male infertility and need help, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Dr. Kelly today to get treatment.

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