Causes of Low Sperm Count

Why Low Sperm Count Occurs

There are many causes of male infertility, including poor sperm quality, lack of semen, reduced sperm motility, and low sperm count. Biological and environmental factors can both cause low sperm count.

Age Can Play a Role

There is growing evidence supporting the connection between aging and male infertility. Men under the age of 39 have fertilization rates of over 60 percent whereas males over 39 have fertilization rates of slightly over 50 percent.

Lifestyle and Temporary Reasons for Low Sperm Count

Sperm count is almost always temporarily reduced by physical or mental stress, including:

  • Heightened Emotional Stress – Emotional stress interferes with the hormone GnRH.
  • Issues With Sexual Intercourse – Issues with sexual intercourse or technique is possible in less than 1 percent of males.
  • Mental Stress – Psychological issues, impotence, premature ejaculation, or issues within a relationship can affect fertility.
  • Lubricants – Lubricants including spermicides, oils, and Vaseline have been shown to affect fertility.

Overheating of the Testicles

Exposure to high heat in saunas, hot tubs, and fevers can temporarily lower your sperm count.

Abusing Substances

Sperm count can be impaired by up to 50 percent due to heavy use of cocaine or marijuana. In fact, there are specific compounds in marijuana that are detectable by a sperm’s receptors, impairing their ability to swim and penetrate an ovum.

Cigarette Smoking

Cigarette smoking can cause low sperm count, impaired motility of sperm, reduced lifespan of sperm, and genetic damage. A study completed in 1999 suggests that a lower sex drive and less frequent intercourse is associated with men who smoke.

Deficiencies in Nutrition

Insufficient levels of nutrients such as zinc, vitamin C, folate, and selenium are nutrients that can cause issues with sperm count.

Weight Issues

According to a select number of studies, obese men are at risk for lower sperm counts.

Regular Use of a Bicycle

Impotence and low sperm count are often associated with biking because bike seats can damage nerves and blood vessels associated with erections. Mountain biking can exacerbate these issues and injure the scrotum.

Biological Factors

Male infertility is linked to several genetic factors that are discussed below.

Examples of Inherited Genetic Factors

Men who suffer from cystic fibrosis generally have vas deferens that are obstructed or missing. This affects fertility because these tubes carry the sperm.

Men with Klinefelter Syndrome have two X chromosome and one Y chromosome. This causes the destruction of the seminiferous tubule lining during puberty. This results in internal damage that can lower sperm counts.

Another disorder is Kartagener Syndrome, a condition where major organ positions are reversed. Sperm cells might also be affected by the condition.

Environmental Toxins

While the extent of damage by environmental toxins is unknown, common assaults such as Oxygen-Free Radicals, Estrogen Emulation Pesticidal Chemicals, Plastic Softening Chemicals, and Hydrocarbons can pose a threat to sperm count.

Heavy Metal Exposure

Long-term exposure to cadmium, arsenic, and lead can lead to reduced sperm production. The smallest amounts can also impair enzymes found in the membrane on the head of the sperm, also known as the acrosome.

Treatment for Radiation

X-rays and other radiation treatments are known to affect sperm. Regular production can take two years to return, if it returns at all.

Reduced Levels of Semen

Structural abnormalities in the tubes transporting sperm can cause reduced amounts of ejaculated semen.

Unclear Effects of Varicocele

Varioceles are varicose veins found in the cord connected to the testicle. 15 to 20 percent of all men have this issue whereas 25 to 40 percent of infertile men have varioceles. However, their impact on fertility is unknown.

  • I think smoking causes low sperm as well as genetic sperm changes.



    • earthsmagic

      Actually, masturbation doesn’t cause a long term lower sperm count. It is only temporary. The sperm regenerates rather quickly. If you have a low sperm count already, frequent masturbation will definitely lower you chance of getting pregnant though.

      • naakofie646

        does frequent masturbating cause low sperm count

        • Steve (Bruce Wayne)

          Absolutely! 😉

      • Daniel

        Does masturbation causes low sperm

      • Daniel

        What if you stop doing it how can that help you.

    • King Jess

      yep its also a sin

      • Rick

        Hey im religious but lets keep god out of this science talk ok Jessica no one is without sin so what’s the purpose of you pointing that out? If u wanna reach out and try to save souls start talking about the pros about Christianity not judging and damming ppl cuz that makes u look like a jerk

        • Mother

          Actually, Rick, I believe you are fighting fire with fire in your comment, and it is a more direct, personal attack. Calling somebody a jerk because they used an age-old, comedic proverb which nobody should take seriously is a bit harsh. I’m not quite sure what offended you by King Jess’s comment. Perhaps you have some insecurities that need addressing. Also, so as not to offend a particular religion or religious deity, God needs a capital G.

        • nii

          Rick pls hold on,there is no science without God…being religious doesn’t mean u r a Christian ok…check the back ground of all the early scientist…all of them r christian and they depend on God almighty not their own intuition…God created all things,we r only discovering and without Him all our efforts r useless…I mean vanity..

        • bryce

          rick don’t take God out of science once we do that then how is it that we find every thing for everything that has been made woudnt have been created without him

      • bryce

        Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

  • christopher

    how many days does sperms takes to mature

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  • abolfazl

    does taking omperazol effect the sperm count or vitality

    • helper

      Not sure if it affects sperm count but it definitely negatively impacted my immune system and kept me from losing weight. After stopping I was able to drop weight, stop taking allergy medicine, and not get sick as easy.

  • Andrei

    i do ride a bicycle to the work place from monday to saturday, woun’t i be affected coz its about 3 km.

  • Adam Saralovski

    I just had an analysis for my semen. I have no idea what this means. Can anyone help me read this. Is it a bad test?

Last modified: March 7, 2014