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Oligospermia: Introduction

Oligospermia is also known as a low sperm count or oligozoospermia. In oligozoospermia there are fewer sperm cells in the ejaculate than normal. Oligospermia is generally defined as less than 20 million spermatozoa per one ml of ejaculate.

Oligospermia is one of the main causes of male infertility or sub-fertility. Sub-fertility is a reduced ability to achieve a pregnancy while infertility is defined as the complete inability to produce a pregnancy after about one year of unprotected sexual activity.

Oligospermia can be the result of many factors, some are permanent and some are reversible. Causes of oligospermia include an obstruction of the normal flow of sperm due to such conditions as testicular trauma and vasectomy. Oligospermia may also result from scarring due to surgery on the male reproductive system or from infection and sexually transmitted diseases.

A decrease in sperm production is another cause of oligospermia. This can be due to such conditions as varicoceles, hormonal disorders, diseases of the testicles, and obesity. Other causes of oligospermia include stress, smoking, drug or alcohol use, some medications, exposure to some toxins, malnutrition, and being underweight. Some sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia, and gonorrhea can also result in oligospermia.

The main symptoms and complications of oligospermia are sub-fertility or infertility. There are also a variety of symptoms of underlying causes of oligospermia, such as sexually transmitted diseases and hormonal disorders. For more details on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of oligospermia.

Making a diagnosis of oligospermia includes taking a medical and sexual history and completing a general physical examination as well as an exam of the penis and testicles. Diagnostic testing includes performing a semen analysis, which examines the ejaculate for the amount and quality of semen and sperm.

Testing also includes performing lab tests to determine if an infection or sexually transmitted disease is present and the type of infecting organism. Other tests may be done to rule-out other potential causes of oligospermia, such as a hormonal disorder.

Because there may be no symptoms before a man attempts to get a woman pregnant, some men may be unaware of oligospermia. This can result in a missed or delayed diagnosis. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of oligospermia.

Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of oligospermia, the individual case, and the presence of complications. Treatment may include improving the diet, losing or gaining weight as needed, not smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and avoiding hot tubs, tight underwear, and other factors that may create excessive heat around the testicles and reduce sperm count. Medications that may be used include vitamin E, vitamin C, antioxidants and hormone therapy. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of oligospermia. ...more »

Oligospermia: An insufficient number of sperm in the semen. The condition is also called oligozoospermatism. Oligospermia can affect male fertility but depending on the cause, this may only be temporary. For example fever, certain drugs, smoking and excess alcohol use may temporarily reduce sperm count. ...more »

Oligospermia: Symptoms

The primary symptoms of oligospermia is sub-fertility or infertility. Other symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause of oligospermia. In sexually transmitted diseases symptoms can include burning with urination, testicular pain and a thick discharge from the penis. With a varicocele, symptoms may include dilated veins in the scrotum and swelling of the scrotum. ...more symptoms »

Oligospermia: Treatments

The first step in the treatment of oligospermia is prevention. Prevention of oligospermia includes preventing sexually transmitted diseases. This includes abstaining from sexual activity or having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship in which neither partner is infected with oligospermia. Latex condoms also provide some protection from some sexually transmitted ...more treatments »

Oligospermia: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the oligospermia can easily be missed or delayed because a man can be unaware of the condition until he attempts to make a woman pregnant. Embarrassment and not being honest with the health care provider about specific symptoms, such as discharge from the penis, can also delay a diagnosis of an underlying sexually transmitted disease.

Because of these ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Oligospermia

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Oligospermia?

Oligospermia: Related Patient Stories

Causes of Oligospermia

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Disease Topics Related To Oligospermia

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Oligospermia: Undiagnosed Conditions

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Misdiagnosis and Oligospermia

Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status can affect her level of fertility. Although obesity or overweight can in themselves more »

Oligospermia: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Oligospermia: Rare Types

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Latest Treatments for Oligospermia

Oligospermia: Animations

Prognosis for Oligospermia

Research about Oligospermia

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Clinical Trials for Oligospermia

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Definitions of Oligospermia:

Insufficient spermatozoa in the semen - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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