Low Sperm Count
Low sperm count – known as oligospermia – occurs when a man’s semen (fluid ejaculated from the penis) contains fewer sperm than is typical. A man is considered to have low sperm count if he has fewer than 15 million sperm per millimeter of semen. Having a low sperm count does not necessarily mean that a man will not be able to impregnate a woman, but it may make it more difficult.
Factors that may contribute to a low sperm count are:
- Abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
- Severe mumps infection after puberty
- Hernia repair surgery
- Hormone disorder
- Exposure to poisons or radiation
- Blockage caused by a prior infection
- Regularly wearing very tight underwear
- Prior injury to the groin area
Symptoms of a low sperm count include:
- Decreased facial or body hair (a sign of a chromosome or hormone problem)
- Difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Inability to impregnate a woman (infertility)
- Low sex drive
- Pain, swelling, or a lump in the testicle area
A man’s sperm may be considered to be in “poor health” or abnormal for two main reasons: an unusually short life span and/or low motility (difficulty “swimming”).
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