Male Infertility

The Causes of Male Infertility

Video: Male Infertility

Forty percent of the patient's Dr. Jacobs treats are men. Male infertility problems are quite common and are the result of hormone imbalances, infections, injuries, varicocele, and vein blockage in the testicles.

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It is very important to evaluate the possibility of male factor infertility when patients are undergoing fertility testing. Male factor infertility testing is an easy process that involves semen analysis to evaluate a male's sperm and testing for physical blockages and hormonal imbalances. To learn more about male infertility, contact our Chicago area offices today.

Common Male Problems

Among the most common causes of male infertility are physical problems that either affect sperm production or inhibit the movement of sperm through the reproductive system. This includes a varicocele, which is a varicose vein in the scrotum that causes overheating of the testicles. A blockage in the vas deferens or epididymis is another physical problem that can cause infertility. Both of these are generally diagnosed through a combination of semen analysis and physical examination by the urologist or andrologist. 

Environmental and lifestyle causes of male infertility include anything that a man consumes or is exposed to that negatively impacts sperm production. Smoking, certain medications, frequent use of hot tubs, and exposure to certain hazardous substances (solvents) can all cause or contribute to male infertility. Fortunately, the effects are usually temporary and can be reversed by avoiding exposure to the substances causing infertility. The highest workplace exposures to solvents are seen in painters, landscapers and auto mechanics.  Exposure to toxic products, such as BPA in plastics, should be minimized. 

To learn more, read this article about diet, lifestyle changes, and male fertility (PDF)

Hormonal imbalances are another source of male infertility. There are many factors that can cause hormones to be out of balance, including obesity, a disorder of the pituitary or hypothalamus, or other endocrine glands, and prolonged stress. Results from the semen analysis, along with other indications, may suggest a hormonal problem. If so, blood tests will be taken to measure the amount of testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and other hormones in the body. Hormonal imbalances are usually treated with medication or by addressing the underlying cause of the imbalance.