Infertility Vs Impotence
It is important to note that infertility and impotence are quite different entities. Failure to discern the difference between the two is a needless cause of embarrassment to most men who stay away from andrology clinics because of the stigma that goes with the latter term.
Evaluation of Male Infertility
Gynaecologist and infertility specialist Dr. Nandita Palshetkar says infertility is when a couple fails to conceive even after a year of unprotected intercourse. “Pregnancy is normally achieved within 12 months. Unfortunately,. One popular myth is that it is always the woman’s problem. This could not be far from the truth. In fact,. In an additional 30% of cases, the cause is attributed to both male and female factors,” she says.
The basic test to determine male infertility is semen analysis. If there are any abnormalities, your doctor will ask you to repeat the test after some time.
Male infertility can be due to a variety of conditions. Some of these conditions are identifiable and reversible, such as ductal obstruction and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Other conditions are identifiable but not reversible, such as bilateral testicular atrophy secondary to viral orchitis.
Causes of Male infertility
“Male infertility is labelled only in cases of persistently abnormal semen analysis. There are many causes for it, including childhood infections, hormonal disorders, genetic factors and physical abnormalities. Men who smoke and drink alcohol have 13-17% lesser sperm count than teetotallers. And today, stress and lifestyle diseases have also added to infertility woes. Only after detailed examination and investigations can a diagnosis be made,” adds Dr Palshetkar.
Consultant gynaecologist and infertility specialist Dr Rishma Pai says some other common causes of male infertility are sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea or chlamydia, which may cause blockage of the tubes that carry sperms. “Mumps in childhood can cause testicular damage and failure, and the absence of sperms. A boy may also be born with congenital absence of vas deferens (the tube through which sperm passes from the testis to outside the body). Sometimes, the testes may not come down into the scrotum at birth (undescended testes). This can also cause damage to testes and failure of sperm production. Swelling of blood vessels around testes, surgery for hernia and hydrocoele can all lead to male infertility,” she says.
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