WHAT IS MALE INFERTILITY?
According to the World Health Organization, Infertility is the situation where a couple is trying without success to have children for at least one year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse . The frequency of infertility increases as a woman and a man ages. It is estimated that approximately 15% of couples trying to conceive will face a problem that will lead them to seek medical assistance.
WHEN SHOULD A COUPLE VISIT A PHYSICIAN?
Of all couples trying to conceive naturally:
✓ 20% will conceive the first month.
✓ The 70% will conceive within six months.
✓ 85% will conceive within one year.
Therefore, after 6-12 months of unsuccessful attempts every couple needs to seek medical advice.
IN WHAT PERCENTAGE INFERTILITY IS DUE TO MAN?
In 30-40% of cases infertility is only due to male factor (male infertility) and in 20-30% due to both sexes.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF MALE INFERTILITY?
Infertility occurs in about 12% of the general male population and in people with varicocele its frequency is doubled (25%) . Its the cause for about 40% of infertile men, affecting sperm quality. It reduces the total number of sperm, significantly limiting their mobility and adversely affecting their morphology. Varicocele is treated surgically.
Genetic abnormalities-Hereditary syndromes.
The most common genetic abnormalities, are related mutations in the cystic fibrosis gene and chromosomal abnormalities that are responsible for various syndromes such as Klinefelter's syndrome, and microdilatations of the chromosome Y, which may lead to a small reduction of spermatozoa until azoospermia.
Malfunctioning organs such as the thyroid gland, the pituitary, hypothalamus and natural endocrine component of the testis have significant hormonal disorders that can affect the fertility of a man.
Anatomic penile abnormalities, such as hypospadias and phimosis, can affect the correct injection of semen into the vagina. Surgical treatment of these abnormalities usually gives the solution.
Prostatitis, epididymitis, orchitis, etc., which may optionally be caused by infections, gonorrhea, mycoplasma-ureaplasma, chlamydia etc. can affect sperm quality. Treating these diseases with medication is usually effective.
Diseases of the testis.
Acquired conditions such as trauma, testicular torsion, testicular tumor, drugs, toxic substances, radiation etc. can influence the function of the testis resulting in significant damage to sperm.
Diabetes mellitus, chronic renal failure, neurological diseases affect the probability of achieving spontaneous pregnancy.
Smoking, stress, alcohol and drugs affect sperm quality.
When the main cause of male infertility can not be found, then it is called idiopathic infertility and unfortunately thats about 50% of infertility cases . In this case the use of antioxidants for improving sperm quality is gaining more and more ground.
WHAT IS THE ESSENTIAL TOOL OF THE INVESTIGATION?
Beyond the history and thorough clinical examination which may show any of the above reasons, the key tool is the semen analysis. The semen analysis is the mirror of the sperm and will give information about the number, motility and morphology of spermatozoa mainly.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT IN MALE INFERTILITY?
Surgical treatment, has an important role in correction of a varicocele , which is usually done with a small incision in the abdomen, with little morbidity and very high success rates where the patient in the same day of surgery leaves the hospital. Conservative treatment includes the endocrine therapy and immune therapy where we find anti-sperm antibodies. Finally for men with very low sperm preagnancy is achieved by IVF. Your doctor can advise you properly for all new developments in the IVF field.
ARE THERE ANY PREVENTION MEASURES IN A MAN?
✓ Giving up smoking .
✓ Do not use marijuana or other drugs, as well as excessive alcohol consumption .
✓ To avoid intense exercise.
✓ To eat healthily .
✓ Avoid chronic medication, especially antibiotics, without having been recommended by his doctor.
✓ Avoid places with high temperature such as saunas, hot baths and wear comfortable, not tight underwear and clothes.