Low sperm count: Symptoms and Causes

Low sperm count means that you have a low sperm count than the normal amount when you ejaculate.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010, Over 15 million sperm per milliliter is considered as normal sperm count.

A lower sperm count is also called Oligospermia. And Azoospermia is termed to the people who have zero sperm count.

Having a low sperm count means you may not be able to conceive or father a child. No need to worry much as proper treatment and IVF can make you a father anyway.

Low sperm count: Symptoms and Causes
Low sperm count: Symptoms and Causes

Low sperm count symptoms

The only visible sign of low sperm count is the inability to conceive a child, even after unprotected sexual intercourse with your partner for a year or so. There are no other normal symptoms. But it is found that your sperm count may be affected due to a hormonal imbalance, dilated testicular veins and inherited chromosomal abnormality.

Symptoms to look for low sperm count

  • If you have a low sex drive or difficulty to maintain an erection (Erectile Dysfunction).
  • Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicles.
  • A history of testicle, prostate or sexual problems
  • A groin, testicle, penis or scrotum surgery
  • Decreased facial or body hair.

Consult a doctor if you

  • Are not being to father a child for a year
  • Have Erectile Dysfunction
  • Are having pain, discomfort, a lump or swelling in the testis.
  • Have had a history of any type of sexual problems.

Low sperm count Causes

The causes of low sperm count can be referred to many factors like medical problems and environmental factors. But the main cause of low sperm count is because of some lifestyle factors. It is very important to know them in order to get rid of low sperm count and if you wish to father a child.

Low sperm count Causes

(1) Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes, which is often the result of overweight or obesity can lead to lower sperm count and testosterone levels. It also decreases your libido and sex drive. This can be frustrating and affect your life. Therefore, work hard to lose weight and try to control your diabetes.

Low sperm count Causes

(2) Obesity

Obesity is increasing day by day in the whole world. An obese person can have a low sperm count. Obesity lowers the testosterone levels in the body, which drive sperm production. Try to lose weight and reduce your belly fat in order to stay fit and increase your sperm count.

Low sperm count Causes

(3) Smoking

It is proven that smoking decreases fertility in men. Smoking affects sperm count, volume and motility or its ability to swim. It is a very common cause of low sperm count. It is advisable to quit smoking as soon as possible if you want to father a child.

Low sperm count Causes

(4) ALcohol

Heavy drinkers may have a low sperm count. BInge drinking can affect sperm quality and even cause impotence in you.

Dr. Patrick O’Brien, the spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, says: “Excessive alcohol lowers testosterone levels and sperm quality and quantity in men. It can also reduce libido, and cause impotence.”

If a man drinks heavily it can really reduce a couple’s chances of conceiving. However, if you reduce what you drink, these effects can be quickly reversed.

Low sperm count Causes

(5) Drug use

Certain drugs can have a negative effect on male fertility (a man’s ability to father a child).  Anabolic steroids taken to stimulate muscle strength and growth can shrink the testicles and decrease sperm production.

Opiates can disrupt the signals that control testosterone production, which can cause low testosterone and decrease the quantity and quality of the sperm.

Low sperm count Causes

(6) Tight Underwear

Men who wear boxer shorts or loose underwear have a higher sperm count than those who wear tight briefs. Loose underwear also lowers serum FSH levels, compared to men who didn’t usually wear boxer, a favorable condition for sperm production.

(7) Occupation

Though clear data is not available some occupations might be linked to infertility or low sperm count causes. Some of them are Welding or those professions which needs prolong sitting such as truck driving.

Low sperm count Causes

(8) Hot bath

The testicles need to stay cooler than the rest of the body to produce sperm. Therefore, when you bath with hot water its temperature goes up and the sperm count goes down. So, if you want to conceive than stop bathing with hot water or sauna.

(9) Depression

Among couples being treated for infertility, depression in the male partner was linked to lower pregnancy chances. Depression can make you sad and can cause mental fatigue, lack of libido which may result in low sperm count.

Low sperm count Causes

(10) Emotional stress

This study was conducted to found the impact of emotional disorders on sperm quality in men treated for infertility. They found that depression and anxiety or emotional stress in male patients can decrease semen volume and sperm density.


Try to avoid the things which causes of low sperm count to increase it naturally. Consult a doctor if you have any symptoms of low sperm count and follow his advice.

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