DieteticsDiseasesMedical TerminologyMedicine

Low Sperm count- Oligospermia

All you need to know about low sperm count, causes, treatment and prevention with a case story

Low sperm count is probably a very common condition that affects many men in Ghana and the world at large. The predominantly patriarchal society we find ourselves usually doesn’t aid in its early detection and even when so detected remains under wraps and the woman remains continually bashed for inability to conceive. The cloak of public ridicule and the emotional drain attached to this condition have been the main avenues for its continual wreckage of most homes and the earlier discussions about this condition is made the better our homes would be.

What is low sperm count?

Low sperm count also called Oligospermia, as summarized from several sources is a condition where the sperm count is below 15 Million sperms/ml some quote it at below 20 Million sperms/ml. What this means is that when we take a male ejaculate (semen) we would count less than 15 Million sperm per one milliliter.  Optimal counts for normal people usually range between 40 Million to 300 Million sperms/ml.

What causes low sperm count?

Low sperm count could be caused by several factors both internal and external to the body as well. One of the most prominent organs found outside the body of a man and in the pubic region are the two scrotal sacs which contain the testicles. These sacs hang outside the body basically for thermal regulation and for optimal sperm production as opposed to the ovaries of females.  The testicles produce spermatozoa which fertilize the ovum of the woman to produce a zygote and eventually a bouncy baby.

  • Variocele is one of the most common internal conditions responsible for low sperm count in men. Variocele is simply an enlarged vein in the testes that can be a cause of male infertility. Surgery can be conducted to correct this anomaly hence people diagnosed of this condition stand a chance of  increasing their sperm count and in effect giving birth when this surgical procedure is performed
  • Obese people can also become sterile and have low sperm counts because of layers of fat that may overheat the testicles and in effect reduce sperm production. Excessive weight gain comes along with hormonal imbalances as well.
  • Smoking a lot of cigarettes in a day has also been found to reduce sperm count and it’s motility
  • Men who do jobs which involve long hours of sitting without any movement also have an increased risk of developing such a condition. Long distance drivers may have infertility due to increased heat to the genital area. The office worker who sits from 6am to 2pm without moving an inch may have to reconsider his work ethic
  • Excessive intake of alcohol can also lower sperm production through affecting the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone which aids in sperm production and definition of male characteristics
  • Urinary tract and reproductive tract infections could also be responsible for low sperm counts
  • Stress and fatigue has been found to also potentially interfere with sexual drive and sperm production.

What to do when you’re diagnosed with low sperm count 

Contrary to popular opinion trumpeted in Trotro’s and at lorry stations citing magical treatment for low sperm count, there is no singular treatment for this condition. Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the condition. Surgery is mostly recommended for people suffering from Variocele (a condition that is characterised by the enlargement of the veins within the scrotum). For low sperm count originating from infections of the genito-urinary tract medications such as antibiotics can be administered to clear the infection.

In obese individuals and others where hormonal imbalance persists, medication and hormone replacement treatment option can also be explored to correct such an anomaly.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments are now used to facilitate conception. You can talk to your healthcare provider for options available to you if you’re ever confronted with this challenge.

How do you prevent yourself from having low sperm count?

Sitting down at one place for long times till you feel pulsating heat within the groin area should be stopped. Long distance lorry drivers should take time off after a few hours and ventilate.  Alcohol consumption and smoking must also be brought to the barest minimum to ensure optimum reproductive health and avoid developing low sperm count

A Case Story

He was a fine gentleman who looked and spoke like An April man, he sure was. He confided in me and expressed his greatest of fears. He had been diagnosed with Low sperm count. He was devastated, how could he a virgin who had known no woman sexually, sung in the choir and in fact a youth president be confronted with such a condition. He was amazed as he couldn’t bring himself to that realization of being called less of a man. He was visibly shaken and had prayed severally to the God of healing and deliverance even upon diagnosis.

As secretive and sensitive as this issue was, he still had to confide in his Senior Pastor to help in prayers, it was as if all petitioning and pleadings fell on blocked ears of the deity to whom those prayers were made. He had to explore other options, and he eventually had to go the hospital where this diagnosis was done.  He had low sperm count and that was responsible for the protracted delay in conception. His beautiful wife, whom I so fondly remember had been supportive all along, but I can only imagine her own pain and hurt as well. She’ll love to suckle her own baby on her nipples, her mammary glands would have to produce milk and make her feel like a full blown woman.

Don’t shy away from it and live in self-deceit, seek early treatment and have that beautiful daughter you’ve always dreamed about.

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The Editorial takes care of op-ed articles from visiting writers or special release by the writers and editors of MedCircles.
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