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Low sperm count syndrome Symptoms, Signs, Causes and Treatments

Low sperm count syndrome, also known as oligospermia, is a condition that affects male fertility. It is characterised by a lower-than-normal number of sperm cells in the semen. This condition can significantly reduce the chances of conception and can be a source of frustration and stress for couples trying to conceive. While infertility is often associated with women, it is important to discuss male infertility as well, as it affects approximately one in every three couples struggling to conceive.

By Able Health I Medically reviewed by Dr. Alireza Estedlal

Page last reviewed: February 2024 I Next review due: February 2026

Summary

  • Low sperm count syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, including lifestyle choices and medical conditions.
  • Symptoms of low sperm count syndrome may include difficulty conceiving and decreased sexual function.
  • Signs of low sperm count syndrome can be detected through semen analysis and physical exams.
  • Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake, can improve sperm count.
  • Medical interventions, such as hormone therapy and assisted reproductive technologies, may also be used to treat low sperm count syndrome.

Understanding the Male Reproductive System

To understand low sperm count syndrome, it is essential to have a basic understanding of the male reproductive system. The male reproductive system consists of various organs and structures that work together to produce and transport sperm. The testes, located in the scrotum, are responsible for producing sperm cells through a process called spermatogenesis. These sperm cells then travel through the epididymis, vas deferens, and ejaculatory ducts before being released during ejaculation.

What is Low Sperm Count Syndrome?

Low sperm count syndrome refers to a condition where the number of sperm cells in the semen is below the normal range. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines low sperm count as having less than 15 million sperm cells per millilitre of semen. This condition can significantly impact male fertility, as a lower number of sperm cells reduces the chances of successful fertilisation.

Symptoms of Low Sperm Count Syndrome

Men with low sperm count syndrome may not experience any noticeable symptoms. However, some common symptoms include difficulty conceiving, reduced sexual desire or difficulty maintaining an erection, and pain or swelling in the testicles. It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other factors, so it is crucial to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis.

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Signs of Low Sperm Count Syndrome

The diagnosis of low sperm count syndrome is typically made through a semen analysis. This test measures the number, motility, and morphology of sperm cells in the semen. A low sperm count is diagnosed when the number of sperm cells falls below the normal range. It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you may have low sperm count syndrome, as a proper diagnosis can help determine the best course of treatment.

Causes of Low Sperm Count Syndrome

There are several factors that can contribute to low sperm count syndrome. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and obesity can all negatively impact sperm production. Medical conditions such as hormonal imbalances, infections, varicocele (enlarged veins in the scrotum), and genetic disorders can also affect sperm count. Additionally, environmental factors such as exposure to toxins, radiation, and certain medications can contribute to low sperm count.

Diagnosis of Low Sperm Count Syndrome

The diagnosis of low sperm count syndrome is typically made through a comprehensive evaluation that includes a medical history review, physical examination, and semen analysis. During the physical examination, the healthcare provider may check for any abnormalities in the reproductive organs or signs of hormonal imbalances. The semen analysis is crucial in determining the number, motility, and morphology of sperm cells in the semen.

Treatment Options for Low Sperm Count Syndrome

Treatment options for low sperm count syndrome depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. In some cases, lifestyle changes alone may be sufficient to improve sperm count. These changes may include adopting a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, regular exercise, avoiding excessive heat exposure to the testicles, and reducing stress levels. However, if lifestyle changes do not yield significant improvements, medical interventions may be necessary.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Sperm Count

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on sperm count. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can provide essential nutrients that support sperm production. Regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight and improve overall reproductive health. Other lifestyle changes that can improve sperm count include avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use, as well as managing stress levels effectively.

Medical Interventions for Low Sperm Count Syndrome

In cases where lifestyle changes are not sufficient, medical interventions may be recommended. Medications such as clomiphene citrate or gonadotropins may be prescribed to stimulate sperm production. Surgical interventions may be necessary to correct underlying conditions such as varicocele or blockages in the reproductive tract. In more severe cases, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be considered.

In conclusion, low sperm count syndrome is a condition that can significantly impact male fertility. Understanding the male reproductive system, the symptoms and signs of low sperm count syndrome, as well as the causes and treatment options, is crucial for individuals and couples struggling to conceive. Seeking medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and exploring appropriate treatment options can increase the chances of successful conception. It is important to remember that infertility is a shared responsibility, and discussing male infertility is essential for comprehensive reproductive health care.

What is low sperm count syndrome?

Low sperm count syndrome, also known as oligospermia, is a condition where a man has a lower-than-normal amount of sperm in his semen. This can make it difficult for him to father a child.

What are the symptoms of low sperm count syndrome?

There are usually no obvious symptoms of low sperm count syndrome. However, some men may experience problems with sexual function, such as difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection or pain or discomfort during ejaculation.

What are the causes of low sperm count syndrome?

There are many possible causes of low sperm count syndrome, including hormonal imbalances, genetic factors, infections, certain medications, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and exposure to environmental toxins.

How is low sperm count syndrome diagnosed?

Low sperm count syndrome is usually diagnosed through a semen analysis, which involves examining a sample of semen under a microscope to determine the number, shape, and movement of the sperm.

What are the treatments for low sperm count syndrome?

Treatment for low sperm count syndrome depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or reducing alcohol consumption may be enough to improve sperm count. Other treatments may include medications to correct hormonal imbalances, surgery to correct structural abnormalities, or assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Can low sperm count syndrome be prevented?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent low sperm count syndrome, but certain lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and reducing exposure to environmental toxins may help to reduce the risk.