What is a low sperm count?
A low sperm count means that the seminal fluid, or semen, you ejaculate during a climax, contains fewer sperm than normal. Your sperm count is considered low if you have fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen.
Having a low sperm count reduces the odds that you will easily fertilise a female’s egg in order for pregnancy to occur. In view of the fact that that the average ejaculation is only about half a teaspoon of semen, it appears that millions and millions of healthy sperm are needed for conception.
Things to look out for regarding a possible low sperm count include difficulty with maintaining an erection, a swelling or lump in the groin or testicle area, as well as reduced body and facial hair – which may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance.
The main sign is that there could be low sperm levels, is the seeming inability of a partner, who has no fertility issues, to fall pregnant.
Nevertheless, the good news is that many men who have a low sperm count are still able to father a child.
What causes a low sperm count?
In spite of ongoing research, the actual cause of a low sperm count is not known. However it remains a complex condition, and studies have revealed that there are several risk factors linked to a low sperm count.
Here are some of them:
- Excessive alcohol intake, heavy smoking.
- Using certain illicit drugs.
- Anabolic steroids used to stimulate muscle growth can cause the testicles to shrink, and sperm production to decrease.
- Being very overweight or obese.
- Having experienced trauma to the testicles.
- Exposure to heavy metals and other environmental toxins.
- Emotional stress can interfere with the hormones necessary to produce sperm.
- Circulatory problems which can impede a good blood flow to the genital area.
- A defect or blockage in the tubes which carry the sperm from the testicles.
You can take action to avoid many of these potential risks, but there may also underlying medical reasons. Visit your doctor if you are uncertain, or concerned about anything.
Some facts about sperm which you may not know
- Sperm does not have a gender – in other words they are neither male nor female. They do, however determine what sex the baby will be. Sperm carry either an X or Y chromosome which are almost equal in number. The difference is that the Y guys swim a bit faster than the X ones, but do not live as long as the X do. The female egg cell has only an X chromosome, and if an X sperm fuses the female X, the result will be a girl child. If a Y sperm fuses with the female X, the result will be a boy child.
- Sperm can live inside the vagina for 2 to 5 days, but outside of the body they die quickly. You will not fall pregnant by coming into contact with any residue left on clothes or bedding.
- Sperm and semen are not the same thing. Semen is the fluid which transports the sperm from the testicles to the penis for ejaculation. The semen is mainly made up of water, with only about 5% being sperm. However the seminal fluid does contain amino acids, protein, and minerals, which maintain and protect the millions of microscopic sperm, while they are vigorously swimming around trying to get to the female egg.
If you have been diagnosed with a low sperm count, and want to help raise your count by natural means, begin by following a healthy diet, creating a healthier lifestyle, and getting some exercise on a regular basis.
Studies have shown that men who exercise regularly for at least 6 hours per week, have a 73% higher sperm count than couch-potatoes who hardly exercise at all.
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