Semen problems are a chief cause of male infertility and may have a variety of causes. Hormone deficiencies and low sperm counts are the most common types of problems with semen. Genetic problems and blockages can also lead to problems with the sperm or semen. Lifestyle issues such as smoking or testicular exposure to high temperatures often contribute to these issues. Any questions or concerns about specific issues in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.
Testosterone is the primary male hormone responsible for sperm and semen health. Low testosterone levels can lead to reduced fertility problems and can normally be treated successfully with hormone replacement therapy. Physical injury to the testicles or any other part of the male reproductive system may also lead to a variety of problems with semen.
Low sperm counts are among the most common types of semen problems. Nicotine and alcohol use can lower the sperm count in some men, as can emotional stress. Other contributing factors may include nutritional deficiencies, obesity, and genetic conditions.
A complete absence of semen may sometimes occur and can be due to an obstruction or a failure of the testicles to produce semen. Testicular failure is the term used for the inability to produce semen. Fertility may be preserved in some cases through the use of in-vitro fertilization or a medical procedure known as testicular extraction of sperm. These two procedures are usually considered more effective when used together instead of separately.
Problems are sometimes caused by a blockage of one or more of the tubes responsible for transporting semen. This can lead to reduced amounts of semen during ejaculation, or semen may be completely absent. These blockages can be caused by a number of factors, including tumors or inflammation due to an infection. Treatment depends on the type of blockage and may involve the use of prescription medications or surgical intervention.
Additional semen problems may be related to medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or prostate cancer. Some genetic chromosomal disorders may lead to testicular or sperm failure. Frequent contact with environmental contaminants such as chemicals or pesticides may gradually cause problems to develop. If the testicles are exposed to high temperatures on a regular basis, any number of fertility issues may arise. A doctor should be consulted any time that problems related to semen develop so that the patient can be screened for any potentially serious medical conditions.