Male Infertility and Erectile Dysfunction- Symptoms and Causes
Erectile Dysfunctioning: For many couples, reproduction has been a natural and simple experience. But it is not the same for many. A man’s fertility generally relies on the quantity & quality of his sperm. If the number of sperm a man ejaculates is low or if the sperm is of poor quality, it will be difficult and sometimes impossible for him to cause pregnancy. Male infertility is diagnosed only after both the partners and tested and the reproductive problems have been found in the male.
How Common is Male Infertility?
It is a very common problem. For 1 in every 5 couples, the infertility problem solely lies in the male. It is been estimated that about 1 in every 20 men has the same kind of infertility problem with a low number of sperms in his ejaculate. However, only 1 in every 100 men has no sperm in his ejaculate.
Symptoms of Male Infertility:
In most cases, there are no signs of infertility. Intercourse, erections, and ejaculations will happen without any difficulty. The quantity of semen ejaculated seems to be normal to a naked eye. Medical tests are required to detect male infertility.
Causes of Male Infertility:
Male infertility is usually caused by problems that affect either sperm production or sperm transport. Through medical testing, the doctor may be able to find the cause of the problem. About 2/3rd of infertile men have a problem with making sperm in the testes. Either low numbers of sperm are made and/or the sperm that is made does not work properly. Sperm transport problems are found in about one in every five infertile men, including men who have had a vasectomy but now wish to have more children. Blockages (often referred to as obstructions) in the tubes leading sperm away from the testes to the penis can cause a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen.
Other less common causes of infertility include:
- sexual problems that affect whether semen is able to enter the woman’s vagina for fertilization to take place
- low levels of hormones made by the pituitary gland that acts on the testes (one in 100 infertile men)
- sperm antibodies (found in one in 16 infertile men).
In most men, sperm antibodies will not affect the chance of a pregnancy but in some men sperm antibodies reduce fertility.
Male Reproductive System:
There are 2 main glands that help in the production of male hormones and sperms. They are the pituitary and the hypothalamus glands. Luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone are the 2 important messenger hormones made by the pituitary gland that acts on the testes.
The tests are a pair of egg-shaped glands that sit in the scrotum next to the base of the penis on the outside of the body. The testes make sperm and the male sex hormone testosterone. It takes about 70 days for sperm to become mature and able to fertilize an egg. When released from the testes, the sperm spends two to 10 days passing through the epididymis where they gain the vital ability to swim strongly or become motile and to attach to and penetrate the egg.
The waves of muscle contractions transport the sperm, with a small amount of fluid, from the testes to the vas deferens. The seminal vesicles and prostate contribute extra fluid to protect the sperm. This mixture of sperm and fluid travels along the urethra to the tip of the penis where it is ejaculated.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
A man is said to have erectile dysfunction if he has permanent difficulty in getting or maintaining a firm enough erection to be able to achieve sexual activity. Most men have occasionally experienced some difficulty with their penis becoming hard or staying firm, but this is not normally causing for a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. This condition is only considered a concern if satisfactory sexual performance has been impossible on a persistent number of occasions for some time.
Broadly, two forms of erectile dysfunction can affect men’s sex lives – the main cause is either medical or psychosocial.
Here, psychosocial refers to the psychological effects – including the effects of social relationships – on sexual performance. Medical conditions can also affect psychological well-being, meaning that, while the primary cause of sexual impotence is typically either medical or psychological, there is often overlap between the two.
Erectile dysfunction used to be known more widely as ‘impotence‘ before the causes became better understood and successful treatments came into use. Impotence is a term that is still in use, however, although it can be seen as pejorative.
Diagnosis, with the help of a doctor, can identify the likely cause by taking a history, discussing symptoms, performing blood tests to establish the presence of conditions such as diabetes or heart problems, and other physical problems.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction:
The relaxation of muscles allows blood to rush into the cylinder-shaped spongy tissue of the erection chamber. This creates increased tissue pressure and erection. This blood flow process is led by nervous and hormonal triggers when the brain is stimulated by touch.
The normal erectile function can be affected by problems that compromise any of the following normal physiological contributions needed for an erect penis:
- Blood flow
- Nervous supply
Vascular causes that affect blood flow and neurological causes that affect nerve signals are the major medical causes of erectile dysfunction, often due to the underlying disease such as atherosclerosis and diabetes.
Smoking and diabetes often cause atherosclerosis, and this narrowing or ‘clogging’ of arteries in the penis is the most common vascular cause of erectile dysfunction.
Numerous medicines can also cause erectile dysfunction. Anyone taking prescription medications should consult their doctor or healthcare practitioner prior to stopping or changing their medications.
- Drugs to control high blood pressure
- Heart medications such as digoxin
- Some diuretics (known as ‘water pills’ that increase urine output)
- Drugs that act on the central nervous system (in the brain or spinal cord), including some sleeping pills and amphetamines
- Anxiety treatments (anxiolytics)
- Antidepressants including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants
- Opioid painkillers
- Some cancer drugs, including chemotherapeutic agents
- Prostate treatments, including treatments for cancer, and for benign prostatic hypertrophy (such as 5α-reductase inhibitors). Anti-androgen drugs used for prostate disease and other conditions can also cause erectile dysfunction
- Anticholinergics – drugs with a wide range of uses that block a neurotransmitter (nerve signal molecule) that affects muscle tone
- Hormone drugs, including estrogens and drugs that act on luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone
- The peptic ulcer medication cimetidine
To know more about erectile dysfunction or male infertility and to know its diagnosis procedures log on to www.freedoctorhelpline.com or call us at +918010555444.
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