Infertility problems in men are more common than you might think. Among couples who are having trouble starting a family, one-third of the time those troubles can be linked to male fertility issues, one-third to female fertility issues, and the final one-third to fertility issues with both partners. More than 10 percent of couples trying to conceive bump into fertility issues.
Often, men first suspect problems with infertility after failing to impregnate their partner. Technically, a man is considered infertile if he is unable to make a fertile woman pregnant after one year of unprotected intercourse with her.
Signs and Symptoms of Infertility in Men
While there may be no other obvious signs of infertility, there are a few warning flags to look out for. These include:
- Problems obtaining and maintaining an erection
- Trouble ejaculating – either no ejaculation or reduced volume of semen
- Loss of libido or sexual desire / arousal
- Pain or discomfort in the testicles or area surrounding the testicles
- Growth of breast tissue in men (gynecomastia)
- Signs of hormonal imbalance, such as loss of facial or body hair
- Unusual loss of or reduction in the sense of smell
- Lumps in the testicles, or unusually small and hard testicles
Tests for Infertility in Men
Because most causes of male infertility are related to sperm, the first test a urological health care provider will perform is a sperm count and analysis. Too low of a sperm count, misshapen sperm, and “lazy” or less-active-than-normal sperm can all lead to fertility issues.
If all appears normal with a man’s sperm, further investigations may be conducted into possible issues with hormone balance, physical trauma to the genital area, and genetic issues. Occasionally, certain medications can cause infertility problems.
The Big Picture
Beginning a family is important for many couples, and infertility problems can cause a lot of worry and stress. Ironically, stress itself can negatively contribute to a couple’s infertility due to its harmful impact on intimate relations – which is why it’s important to seek professional, expert advice early on. Often, infertility problems can be addressed and just understanding what the issue is can be the first step in improving a couple’s ability to conceive.
For proper care, it’s vital to discuss any fertility issues you may have with a board-certified urologist. Contact Dr. Richard Natale at Carolina Urology Partners in Concord, North Carolina for the compassionate and discreet urological care you deserve. Call our office today at (704) 786-5131 to schedule your appointment, or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you.