The testicles make several million sperms a day and there can be as much as 20 to 300 million sperms in every millilitre of semen that is released during ejaculation.
When the amount of sperms in each millilitre of semen drops below 15 million, we call it oligospermia or in simpler terms, “low sperm count”.
When this count is low, a couple can have difficulty in trying to get pregnant and as much as one in every 3 couples having problems with conception can trace their issues to a depleted sperm bank. This does not mean that pregnancies do not occur with these low sperm count as some people can still conceive despite having it
How do I know I have a low sperm count?
If you have been trying to conceive for up to a year without success it will be a good idea to have a semen analysis done, this is done by taking a sample of your semen, best gotten by masturbation and sent to a laboratory.
Both the quantity and the quality of sperms are checked. Even the shapes of the sperms and the movement are checked also
When we get abnormal values, we can repeat it but usually 3 months later to ensure that the values are accurate.
What Causes Low sperm count?
In a huge number of cases, we don’t know what causes it, but there are certain things that have been associated with a reduced sperm count
They can include
- Enlarged veins in the testicles, this is known as a varicocele
- Previous surgeries to the testicles
- Previous hernia repairs, (there may have been damage to the sperm tubes)
- Overheating the testicles, the testicles are outside the body to help reduce the temperature so that sperms can be formed properly
- Excess consumption of alcohol
- Reduced hormones
- Some antibiotics
- Taking steroids
- Klinefelter’s syndrome ( a genetic problem)
- STIs like gonorrhoea or chlamydia
What can I do?
If you have been told that you have low sperm count, there are several things you can do to help manage this situation.
- Stop smoking, this goes without saying, smoking harms most processes in your body and making sperms is also affected
- Avoid too much alcohol
- You can consider some supplements, (speak with your doctor concerning this, some supplements containing Q10 can improve the quality of semen
- Avoid stress
- Lose the excess fat, obesity has been linked to infertility and losing weight should be important to you, if your waistline is large
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise, exercise can boost the male hormone which can also increase the production of sperms
If you have low hormones, your doctor may prescribe drugs that can improve the levels in your blood that may help with fertility
Please note that these methods still need research as there is not enough evidence for them, but having a healthy lifestyle greatly improves your chances of increasing your fertility
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