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Monday, March 19, 2007

Abnormal Sperm -- Causes of Abnormal Low Sperm Counts

There are many biologic and environmental factors that can lead to male infertility. The leading causes are low sperm count, low sperm motility, bad quality sperms, lack of semen. Most cases of male infertility are due to low sperm count.

Smoking


Low sperm count and low sperm motility have an adverse effect due to toxins in cigarettes and also on their lifespan. Studies show that men who smoked also had far less sex drive than their non-smoking peers.

Diet


Male fertility affects by Chemicals such as dibromochloropropane (DBCP), chlordecone, carbaryl and ethylene dibromide. The best advice is to eat healthily, and, if possible, to eat organic. Organically produced crops don’t contain chemicals which destroy sperm and are also a much healthier diet for men who are trying to raise their sperm levels.

Alcohol


With alcohol consumption at an all time high, excessive and ongoing alcohol consumption can have an adverse effect on sperm production and quality. However, drinking in excess of the recommended daily units can decrease healthy sperm and damage developing sperm.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s)


Sexually transmitted diseases are one of the main factors relating to drops in sperm counts and sperm motility. One of the most dangerous STD’s harmful to sperm production is Chlamydia. The infection of this disease is often not detectable in men as there are no visible symptoms. Antibodies produced by the disease (called trachomatis IgG antibodies) inevitably have a negative effect on sperm production, thus lessening the chances of conception. Statistics show that the chance of achieving a pregnancy was reduced by 33% if the man was IgG positive.

Testicular Overheating


Exposure to excess heat can have an adverse effect on sperm development. Raised temperatures created by the use of laptops and wearing tight fitting underwear can raise scrotal temperature, slowing down the rate of sperm production. Laptop heat insulators and loose fitting garments such as boxer shorts are recommended to allow air to circulate and keep the testicles cool. Working in conditions that involve a lot of heat (welding for example) may impair fertility on a more permanent basis. Men in these types of professions are recommended to have a tepid bath each evening to bring testicular temperatures down.

Environmental Damages


There are many different environmental effects that can be harmful to sperm production. Whether a result of a direct or indirect attack on the system, pollutants such as toxins, chemicals, pesticides and oxygen-free radicals can all reduce sperm counts. Those at greatest risk will be in trades such as fruit or flower harvesting, contracting, livestock treatment, gardening and poultry and dairy farming. Exposure to metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic can also lead to trace amounts of these products being found in the semen and thus sperm production is often lowered.

Vigorous Exercise


Certain types of exercise can have a damaging effect on male sperm production. One of the worst forms of exercise for this is cycling or mountain biking. Mountain bikers have been proven to register less then half the sperm count and sperm movement than non-cyclists. The semen alterations are thought to be caused by impounding damage to both the testes and the scrotum, the repeated trauma is considered to be the main reason for the vascular damage and the subsequent effects on sperm motility.

Driving


For many of us, driving is a necessary evil. But spending long hours behind the wheel can have a damaging effect on your sperm. Scrotal temperatures are proven to rise significantly when a man is seated for long periods of time, and statistics show that couples whose partner was employed as a HGV driver or sales rep, (or any occupation that involved spending a great number of hours driving)found that they took longer to conceive. Results also show that sperm counts of professional drivers were lower and that the sperm itself contained more abnormalities.

Misuse of Substances


There are a number of banned substances that can have potentially lethal effects on sperm production. Taking anabolic steroids, for example, to increase performance in sports such as weight lifting, can dramatically alter both the motility and the health of the spermatozoa. Other banned substances, such as cocaine, marijuana and heroin can reduce sperm production by up to 50%, and in cases of ongoing use, may make a man infertile.

Genetic causes


Cystic fibrosis patients who suffer from CF often have missing or obstructed vas deferens (the tubes that carry perm).Naturally, this prevents the sperm from developing correctly. Klinefelter syndrome patients carry two X and one Y chromosomes (the norm is one X and one Y), which lead to the destruction of the lining of the seminiferous tubules in the testicles during puberty, although most other male physical attributes are unimpaired.

Kartagener syndrome a rare disorder that is associated with a reversed position of the major organs, also includes immotile cilia (hair-like cells in lungs and sinuses that have a structure similar to the tails of sperm). Germ cells may also be affected by this condition.

Varicocele
A varicocele is a varicose vein in the cord that connects to the testicle. (A varicose vein is one that is abnormally enlarged and twisted.) Varicoceles are found in 15% to 20% of all men and in 25% to 40% of infertile men. It is not clear how they affect fertility, or even if they do at all. Some theories for their effect include the following:

Varicoceles may partially obstruct the passages through which sperm pass.

  • Varicocele may elevate temperature in the testes.
  • Varicoceles may produce higher levels of nitric oxide, a substance that has
  • Certain damaging effects that might injure sperm.
  • Varicoceles may block oxygen to the sperm.
  • Varicoceles have been associated with abnormalities in cellular material in the sperm. One study suggested that some men might have genetic abnormalities that cause both varicoceles and impaired sperm, rather than varicocele itself causing infertility.

Radiation Treatment


Radiation treatments and x-rays affect any rapidly dividing cell, so cells that produce sperm are quite sensitive to radiation damage. Cells exposed to significant levels of radiation may take up to two years to resume normal sperm production, and, in severe circumstances, may never recover.

Malnutrition and Lack of Supplements


Deficiencies in certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, selenium, zinc, and folate, may be particular risk factors for infertility in such cases. Those men trying to conceive are recommended to take vitamin C to prevent sperm from agglutinating (i.e. sticking together). This is especially beneficial to smokers. Vitamin B12 and Vitamin E supplements should also be taken to increase sperm activity and production.

Source: http://www.spermtest.com/

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