Why you should worry about low sperm count

Women are generally diagnosed of infertility if they find it difficult to get pregnant after trying for more than a year or if they suffer miscarriages, but low sperm count in men is a serious health problem that menfolk should not ignore because it affects more than a man’s ability to have children.

New research findings show that low sperm count may have links to a number of underlying health problems.

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More than 1 out of every 10 couples experience infertility problems, and in fact, millions of people around the world have had to face this scourge which is not just a woman’s problem or an age-related issue.

Couples are usually tested when they have a hard time getting pregnant because either of them could likely be the cause. Nonetheless, while doctors often conduct tests to figure out the causes of infertility and prescribe proper treatments, there are times when no known reasons are found. In this circumstance, as frustrating as it could be, there are still some available treatment options to consider.

According to the research conducted with nearly 5,200 Italian men, Dr. Alberto Ferlin and his team proved that those with low sperm counts were 1.2 times more likely to have more body fat, higher blood pressure, higher bad cholesterol and triglycerides, including lower levels of good cholesterol.

Dr. Ferlin, who is an associate professor of endocrinology at the University of Brescia in Italy, explained that men with low sperm counts also had higher rates of metabolic syndrome and related health issues that increases their chance of suffering stroke, diabetes, and heart disease and stroke. The participants also had higher rates of insulin resistance, which is one of the causal factors for diabetes.

“Infertile men are likely to have important coexisting health problems or risk factors that can impair quality of life and shorten their lives,” the professor said, adding that fertility evaluation gives men the unique opportunity for health assessment and disease prevention.


At the presentation of his findings on 18 March, 2018 at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Chicago, Dr. Ferlin said his findings reveal the connection between low sperm count and risk of heart disease, low bone mass and metabolic changes.

He, however, explained that while his research outcomes did not prove that low sperm counts cause these problems, there are proofs that a man’s sperm quality can reveal his general health condition.

Research results presented at such medical meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal, but the doctor said in a society news release that “men of couples having difficulties achieving pregnancy should be correctly diagnosed and followed up by their fertility specialists and primary care doctor because they could have an increased chance of morbidity and mortality.”

Low sperm count is a health condition experienced by men whose fluid or semen are found to contain fewer sperm than normal. It is also called oligospermia.

Your sperm count is considered lower than normal if you have fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen, health experts said. A complete absence of sperm is called azoospermia.

Low sperm count in men decreases the odds that one of your sperm will fertilize your partner’s egg, resulting in pregnancy, but there have been cases where men who have a low sperm count are still able to father a child.

Symptoms of low sperm count include: problems with sexual function such as having low sex drive or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction); pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area; and decreased facial or body hair, including other signs of a chromosome or hormone abnormality.