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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Men's Health Low sperm count

Low sperm count

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It is also called as oligospermia. It is one of the common cause for male infertility. It is caused due to various factors like varicocele, use of certain drugs, smoking, alcohol consumption.


Low sperm count (oligospermia) is one cause of male infertility.


For most men, the only sign of low sperm count men is the inability to conceive a child (infertility). A couple is considered infertile if they're unable to conceive after one year of regular intercourse.


  • Varicocele. This is a swollen vein inside the scrotum that can affect sperm production. This common cause of male infertility can be repaired with minor surgery.

  • Damaged sperm ducts. Inherited conditions, infections, surgeries or injuries can damage the delicate duct system that carries sperm from the testicles into the penis.

  • Anti-sperm antibodies. Men who have anti-sperm antibodies have an immune system response that attacks their own sperm. Common in men who have had a vasectomy reversal, this condition can also be caused by other problems such as an injury or infection.

  • Problems with sperm production. These issues can be caused by a genetic (inherited) condition such as Klinefelter's syndrome or a hormonal disorder such as a health problem that affects the pituitary gland in your brain. If you have an inherited condition, you're more likely to have complete lack of sperm in your semen (azoospermia).

  • Overheating of testicles due to high fever, hot water bath, saunas, tight pants or under garments can cause low sperm count.



Low sperm count

Risk factors:

Factors that increase your risk of low sperm count include:

  • Genetic or hormonal problems. Certain health conditions affect sperm production, such as Klinefelter's syndrome or a problem with hormone production.

  • Substance abuse. Sperm count can be reduced by use of illegal drugs such as cocaine or marijuana.

  • Smoking. Smoking cigarettes affects sperm production. Secondhand smoke may also lower sperm count.

  • Being overweight. Being obese has been shown to cause hormonal changes that affect sperm production.

  • Exposure to environmental toxins. Exposure to radiation therapy, certain chemicals, heat and some medications can temporarily reduce sperm production.

  • Cancer treatment. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy can hamper sperm production.

  • Certain surgeries or injuries. Surgeries or injuries that affect the testicles or glands that produce hormones can affect sperm production.

Low sperm count causes male infertility.


Treatment of low sperm count includes treating the cause.

Assistive reproductive techniques like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).


  • Frequency of ejaculation. It's important to have sex on a regular basis around the time of ovulation, when your partner can get pregnant. But ejaculating more than a few times a week can reduce the number of sperm present in your semen.

  • Avoid the heat. High body temperatures have been shown to decrease sperm production. Avoid hot tubs, saunas and exposure to hot weather. Tight fitting shorts or prolonged laptop computer use also may increase the temperature of your testicles, decreasing sperm production.

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Staying at a healthy weight and avoiding tobacco, excessive drinking and illegal drugs can all help reduce the risk of low sperm count.