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Will an Underlying Health Condition Hurt My Sperm?
When a male fertility issue is suspected, it may or may not come as a complete surprise. For those without underlying health conditions and no history of a groin injury, an infertility diagnosis can feel as if it’s come “out of nowhere”. After all, if you’re healthy, then why would there be an issue? But, what if you’re not able to check off that you are without an underlying condition? What if you have a personal or familial history that needs to be considered, and could possibly have a correlation to any difficulty you and your partner have while trying to conceive (TTC)? These are important questions because it is true – there are certain health issues that can impair a man’s fertility.
Please note, this discussion is not just limited to health conditions alone, but also the subsequent treatments and lifestyle changes that are needed to maintain the quality and quantity of a person’s life. Simply put, there are life-saving measures that also can have an unfortunate and negative impact on fertility.
Which underlying health conditions can hurt my sperm?
Each system within our body is connected and in order to keep us functioning in a healthy way, they need to be operating optimally. If one system is affected by injury or illness, there is a chance that other areas of our bodies will be impacted too. This is how a man’s sperm could be negatively affected if a separate issue is present.
Hormone imbalance, for example, having low levels of testosterone
Infection, for example, some infections can cause inflammation or scarring
Tumors, both cancerous and benign
Tubal defects where the sperm is blocked
Varicocele which when the veins that normally drain fluid from the testicle becomes swollen
Medications can sometimes impair sperm functionality
Complications from a prior surgery of the groin area
Effects of previous cancer treatment including chemotherapy or radiation
What can I do if I suspect a male fertility issue due to an underlying condition?
If you and your partner have been TTC for six months to a year without success, it is advisable that both seek an opinion regarding the state of their fertility. For men, a male fertility specialist is best to assist. Your doctor can consult with you per your specific concerns, including any existing medical issues, and determine whether a semen analysis is appropriate. The analysis will be able to note if there are issues with your sperm, and specifically what kind of issues are taking place. For example, is the overall sperm count low? Or, does the sperm have poor motility (ability to move in the correct direction)? From there, treatment options would be provided for your consideration.