Men’s Health: 5 Indications You Could Be Experiencing Infertility

The rise in male infertility is becoming increasingly worrisome, underscoring the importance of understanding its causes and recognizing its symptoms as essential measures.

Men's Health: 5 Potential Signs You May Be Facing Infertility
Men's Health: 5 Potential Signs You May Be Facing Infertility

Infertility is a widespread health issue characterized by the inability to conceive after 12 months or more of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. It affects both men and women, impacting approximately 17.5% (roughly 1 in 6) of the adult population globally, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report.

Regarding male infertility, a study published in BMC Public Health reveals that it has afflicted over 56 million men globally up to 2019. Researchers observed a significant increase in the prevalence of male infertility from 1990 to 2019, with a growth rate of 76.9% compared to 1990. These concerning statistics underscore the necessity to enhance access to high-quality fertility care, a goal achievable through heightened awareness.

In an interview with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr. Kalyani Shrimali, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Indore, provided comprehensive insights into various aspects of male fertility, including preventative measures and management strategies.

Typical Causes of Male Infertility

Typical Causes of Male Infertility

Multiple factors can contribute to fertility issues in men. Here are some of the common ones:

1. Varicocele: Varicocele, characterized by the enlargement of a vein within the scrotum, is considered the most prevalent cause of male infertility. It affects around 15% of the normal male population and up to 40% of men with infertility. Varicocele can lead to reduced sperm quality, possibly due to abnormal blood flow, although the exact mechanism is not fully understood.

2. Hormonal Imbalance: Disorders affecting hormonal regulation, such as low testosterone levels or issues with the pituitary hypothalamus, thyroid, and adrenal gland, can disrupt sperm production and contribute to infertility.

3. Infections: Certain infections like epididymitis, orchitis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea and HIV can impair sperm production, health, or block their passage.

4. Tube Defects: The intricate network of tubes responsible for transporting sperm can develop blockages due to factors like surgical scarring, past infections, trauma, or genetic predispositions. These obstructions, ranging from within the testicle to the urethra, can impede sperm flow and affect fertility.

5. Genetic Issues: Genetic conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome and Y chromosome microdeletions can have a significant impact on male fertility.

6. Lifestyle Choices: Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and obesity can negatively influence sperm quality and increase the risk of infertility.

Indications to Be Mindful Of

Indications to Be Mindful Of

Typical Symptoms of Male Infertility Include:

1. Swelling or lump in the testicle area
2. Ejaculation problems
3. Pain or discomfort in the testicle
4. Loss of smell
5. Abnormal breast development

Psychological Factors Contributing to Male Infertility

The Psychological Factors Behind Male Infertility

While the physical aspects of male infertility are well-documented, Dr. Shrimali emphasizes the importance of considering psychological factors in understanding this condition.

Stress, anxiety, and depression can significantly impact reproductive health by influencing hormone levels and sexual function. High stress levels may even contribute to conditions like Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and decreased libido.

Numerous studies have highlighted the connection between stress and sperm quality. For instance, a 2014 study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility revealed that men experiencing two or more stressful life events within a year exhibited lower sperm motility and a higher percentage of abnormally shaped sperm compared to those without stress.

Conversely, infertility itself can lead to heightened stress levels and an increased risk of psychological disorders. Feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem are common among individuals struggling with infertility, contributing to depression, anxiety, distress, and a diminished quality of life, as indicated by research published in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience.

Therefore, addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of infertility is crucial for comprehensive management and support.

Prevention and Management of Male Infertility

Prevention and Management of Male Infertility


Here are some tips for preventing or managing infertility in men:

1. Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet, engage in regular exercise, avoid smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and manage stress through relaxation techniques.

2. Consider hormone therapy: Hormone therapy medications may help increase sperm count.

3. Regular medical check-ups: Routine medical check-ups can detect and address potential fertility issues early.

Dr. Shrimali recommends corrective surgeries such as varicocele repair and vasectomy reversal to address structural issues. Additionally, procedures like vasoepididymostomy and sperm retrieval may be options. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are suitable for mild to moderate oligospermia, while intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is considered for severe cases where medical therapy is ineffective.

It’s important to consult with a fertility expert and a doctor before considering any of these treatments.


Male infertility presents a common challenge influenced by both physical and psychological factors. While medical interventions address physical aspects, managing psychological stress, anxiety, and depression is equally crucial as they can affect sperm quality. Making healthier lifestyle choices is advisable for those facing fertility issues. Moreover, consulting with a doctor or fertility specialist can aid in successfully overcoming infertility challenges.