Most common causes of low sperm count in men and female infertility in India | Health - Hindustan Times
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Most common causes of low sperm count in men and female infertility in India

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Jan 30, 2023 01:46 PM IST

Approximately 10 to 14 percent of Indians are currently infertile, with rates greater in metropolitan areas where one in six couples is affected. Here are some of the most common causes of low sperm counts in men or male infertility and female infertility in India

Infertility can affect both men and women and it is reportedly affecting around 10–14% of Indian couples, according to the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction (ISAR). It is imperative to take medical help if you've been trying to conceive for a year naturally and are still facing problems since there are numerous factors that prevent you from getting pregnant however, many of these factors are reversible through medical treatment or a change in lifestyle.

Most common causes of low sperm count in men and female infertility in India (Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels)
Most common causes of low sperm count in men and female infertility in India (Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels)

Many people still don't understand the issues with infertility and the function of IVF where IVF is not usually the only treatment option for infertility but is for couples who have tried for a while to get pregnant naturally but have been unsuccessful. These couples may be dealing with medical, genetic, lifestyle-related problems, etc.

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In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Priti Gupta, Senior Consultant in Fertility and IVF services at First Step IVF (Centre for Reproductive Medicine) in New Delhi, revealed, “Low sperm counts in men and decreased egg reserves in women have been quite prevalent in recent years and the causes of this include sedentary lifestyles, environmental conditions, addiction to drugs, alcohol and smoking, along with other things. In addition, more people are developing diseases including PCOD, diabetes, and thyroid, all of which affect fertility.”

Infertility is a widespread issue in the world and approximately 10 to 14 percent of Indians are currently infertile, with rates greater in metropolitan areas where one in six couples is affected, based on the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction reports. Dr Shobha Gupta, Medical Director and Infertility Specialist at Mother's Lap IVF Centre in New Delhi, shared, “Infertility is frequently seen as a feminine condition. Actually, 20% of infertility is caused by both male and female, 40% by male factors and 40% by female factors.” She highlighted the female infertility causes as:

1. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a commonly occurring infection in the female reproductive system. It is commonly caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI). PID is frequently treatable easily and efficiently, but if it is not, it can cause infertility. According to estimates, PID causes roughly 1 in 10 women to lose their ability to conceive.

2. Endometriosis

Most often, it affects young women between the ages of 25 and 40. Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium—which usually lines the inside of the womb, is found instead on the outside, most frequently on the ovaries and the top of the vagina. This triggers a long-lasting inflammatory response that results in internal scars, abdominal discomfort, difficult periods, unpleasant sex, and infertility.

3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a commonly occurring condition affecting the functioning of a woman’s ovaries. Ovaries that are polycystic in nature contain a large number of harmless cysts which are up to 8mm in size. The cysts are undeveloped sacs where the eggs form. These sacs are unable to release eggs in PCOS, which prevents ovulation from occurring.

4. Blockage in fallopian tube:

Eggs and sperm must be transmitted through fallopian tubes. Typically, the tube is where a woman's egg and a man's sperm combine to form a fertilised egg. Upon encountering blockage in one or both fallopian tubes, natural conception cannot occur. There is a chance that STDs are the source of this obstruction (STI).

5. Thyroid:

Approximately 70% of women with PMS have dysfunction of the thyroid gland, which may cause infertility, according to the Indian Thyroid Society. Since the thyroid hormones govern cellular activities, poor thyroid function also affects ovulation and fertility.

6. Fibroids:

Fibroids are common in women. A majority of time, fibroids are present as numerous tumors and do not produce symptoms or need treatment, but in rare instances, they may be potentially cancerous.

According to Dr Priti Gupta, “When discussing infertility in India, women are mostly believed to be responsible. Most frequently, the male partner refuses to acknowledge that he could be the cause. So it might be difficult to talk about or seek treatment for infertility. Couples dealing with infertility experience emotional distress when conception doesn't happen naturally because infertility is viewed as a societal taboo. However, in recent years, it has been seen that both men and women are accepting infertility as a medical issue and looking for a solution. In truth, over the past few decades, research has brought attention to men's infertility as it has spurred a conversation about the fact that men can also contribute to infertility and equally share the emotional toll of infertility.”

Dr Priti highlighted the causes that can impact male infertility or result in low sperm count in men -

1. Smoking, alcohol and drugs: If you smoke, quit as soon as you can. Tobacco is the primary cause of poor sperm motility, and weak or malformed sperm, and is also responsible for genetic damage to chromosomes. Additionally, heavy alcohol can diminish testosterone levels and have an impact on sexual performance. Moreover, consumption of drugs is related to decreased sperm counts.

2. Excessive exercise: Too much gymming can decrease testosterone levels and sperm quality. While we don't advise against working out, it should be mild and have no impact on your sperm or testosterone levels. Too much of anything is bad so avoid doing excessive exercise.

3. Heat: Refrain from using hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, or long hot baths since they might temporarily boost body temperature, which could affect the quantity and quality of sperm. Additionally, avoid keeping the laptop on laps.

4. Wearing too tight clothes: Wearing tight briefs or skinny jeans or pants can increase testicular temperature, which can negatively affect sperm production.

5. Stress: It may interfere with a few hormones required for the production of sperm. Your sperm count may be affected by persistent or severe emotional stress, including problems with conception.

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