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Are There Symptoms Of A Low Sperm Count?

Having difficulty with trying to conceive can be a very troubling problem for a couple.  The process of addressing fertility problems can also be very difficult.  Many of the types of problems with fertility are not easy to detect, and can only be discovered with help from your health care provider.  One of the leading causes of male infertility, for example, is a low sperm count.  And, there are no symptoms of a low sperm count that a man could watch for to see if this is the case.


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A low sperm count can be caused by a variety of things.  It can be something as simple as wearing tight-fitting clothing that causes extra heat on the testicles, which inhibits sperm production.  It could be a result of exposure to heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, or arsenic.  Even pesticides and other chemicals may very often contribute to a man having a low sperm count.  Some evidence suggests that low levels of the mineral Zinc may even cause a man to have a low sperm count.  Smoking and excessive alcohol use, in addition to the many other health difficulties that they can cause, may also cause a low sperm count.

A lab test can determine whether you have a low sperm count.  Your health care provider will need a sample of your semen, which you may be able to provide in the office, or which you may be able to bring back at another time.  The semen is then analyzed, not only for signs of a low sperm count, but also for the motility of your sperm, and whether or not your sperm are abnormal in terms of their shape.  If your sperm are not moving forward, or if a high percentage of them are not moving forward, your sperm motility is low.  If you have abnormal sperm, you will also very likely experience difficulty with trying to conceive.

There are a variety of things that may help with a low sperm count, from addressing medical problems such as a varicocele to taking zinc supplements.  If less aggressive methods don’t improve your sperm count, you may need to consider IVF or ICSI to try to conceive.

 


You may want to start with a preliminary at-home sperm count test to determine if further testing is needed.

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Last modified: February 10, 2013


The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.