Low sperm count or oligospermia can be a very daunting thing to be told you have, but what exactly does it mean?
Oligospermia is the medical term for a low sperm count. This is diagnosed following a semen analysis showing a sperm count of less than 15 million sperm cells per millilitre of semen. A normal sperm count is considered anything over 15 million. Oligospermia can cause problems with fertility and this is associated with one in three couples who have fertility problems, although this could be higher as it is often left undiagnosed. Oligospermia can be further diagnosed into mild, moderate and severe with increasing reductions in sperm numbers.
Factors affecting oligospermia
There are many things which can contribute and cause a low sperm count, many of which are treatable, and when treated correctly can result in drastic improvements in male fertility. Some of the most common factors include:
- Weight – over-weight and obese individuals are more prone to a low sperm count
- Hormones – an imbalance of hormones particularly low testosterone is linked with oligospermia
- Medication – some medications can affect sperm production
- Ejaculatory issues
When it comes to treatment options there are a few to consider and should be discussed with your consultant to see which is the most appropriate for you. These include:
- Specialist team – bringing together male and female fertility specialists is important get the best outcome for you and your partner.
- Lifestyle changes – discussing lifestyle changes with your consultant is important as excessive weight, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse can all impact sperm levels and fertility
- Medication – some medications can help address a hormone imbalance and others can help treat infections
- Surgery – this may be an option if the low sperm level are linked to a varicocele
If you wish to speak to our specialist team please contact the practice here.