Early Signs, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Infertility in Men

Signs of infertility in men

Early Signs, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Infertility in Men

In around 20% of the cases of infertile couples, males are the ones who may find it difficult to get their partner pregnant.

The inability of a couple to conceive a child even after unprotected sex can be the first telltale signs of infertility in men. So, if it has been more than a year, it’s likely sensible to get yourself checked.

While suspecting the signs can be agonizing and anxiety-ridden, an open discussion with your partner should be a priority. This is also the key to understand that issues can be present in either one or both of you. 

Moreover, deciding what actions to take is also rooted in your ability to understand Male Infertility Symptoms.

Now, there’s a high chance to not notice anything out of the ordinary. But, in some cases, taking note of some physical signs can clue you in.


6 Symptoms and Signs of Infertility in Men 

#1. Testicle pain, swelling, or a lump

#2. Erectile dysfunction

#3. Drastic loss of virility and sexual issues

#4. Difficulty ejaculating and low sperm count

#5. Hormonal issues and low testosterone levels

#6. Small and firm testicles affecting the sperm’s quality

The signs of infertility in men may go unnoticed until trying to have a child. 

Moreover, the signs, if any present, usually depend on the causation of infertility.

In other words, you may experience signs of an underlying health problem, hormonal imbalance, and issues around testicles. 

Thus, it’s crucial to not discard any sign as insignificant and be vigilant in your observation.

It’s usually common to notice these early signs and Symptoms of Infertility in Men:

#1. Testicle Pain, Swelling, Or a Lump

There are often different kinds of causes behind pain or swelling in the testicles. You could also have dilated veins around the testicles. 

A lump or generalized pain in the area is a warning sign, though. It’s just wise to not assume and get checked as it could also be a medical emergency.

Regardless of the cause behind the pain or swelling, testicular issues can be one of the Signs of Male Infertility that shouldn’t be ignored!

#2. Erectile Dysfunction

The inability to maintain an erection could also be responsible for infertility in men. However, it’s important to understand that erectile dysfunction has usually a number of reasons tagged with it.

It could be higher levels of stress or even hormonal issues that are causing the issues for you. 

While there are some erectile dysfunction treatments to increase virility, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is indispensable.

Psychological factors like guilt, shame, and anxiety are also a common occurrence for men with ED. This, obviously, makes the situation even worse. Thus, discussing concerns in a medical setting can help men manage the signs of infertility. 

#3. Sudden Loss of Sexual Desire

While it’s common to have low virility from time to time, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. 

When a man experiences extreme changes in sexual desire, it could indicate hormonal issues. And hormones govern a man’s sexuality. 

More often than not, low testosterone levels are likely to blame. You should know there are also ways to boost male hormonal levels with testosterone boosting exercises.

Moreover, you can get a blood check-up done right away to assess if hormones are really the cause.

#4. Difficulties with Ejaculation

When you suspect infertility as a man, the causes are primarily rooted in the production and delivery of sperm. 

So, if you are facing difficulty ejaculating, it usually involves Symptoms of Sperm Problems.

Hence, the inability to produce a healthy quantity or quality of sperm can be one of the signs of infertility in men. 

#5. Gynecomastia or Other Signs of Hormonal Issues

As mentioned above, hormones are truly the key to a man’s fertility. The signs of hormonal problems and low testosterone may include gynecomastia (breast growth) or decreased body hair growth.

Hormonal fluctuations can also be the result of age or medical conditions. To ascertain if this is the issue, it’s important to first get checked.

Regardless, hormonal abnormalities are one of the top signs of infertility in men in most cases.

#6. Small and Firm Testicles 

Testicular health often indicates the Signs of Male Fertility. After all, the testes are where a man’s sperm reside. 

So, any dysfunction including firm and small testicles can affect the sperm’s quality. There can also be blockages obstructing the delivery of sperm. 

Only a specialist would be able to help you determine the exact causes. But, if noticed, this can be one of the signs of infertility in men.

If you’re currently experiencing any of these Male Infertility Symptoms, it’s important to know when to start taking things seriously.


When to Seek Medical Attention for Infertility in Men?

You’re better off seeking a specialist’s consultation if you’ve been unable to conceive for more than a year. Getting professional help is even more important for older patients with hormonal issues. 

Additionally, these could be your cue to visit a doctor right away for a Male Fertility Test.

Take These Signs of Infertility in Men Seriously
  • Pain or discomfort in the testicle area
  • A history of the groin, pelvic, or testicle surgery
  • Problems with ejaculation or other sexual issues
  • A sudden and unexplainable drop in sex drive 

Before your doctor’s appointment, it’s also useful to have some things prepared in your mind.

Factors for a Proper Diagnosis of Infertility in Men

  • Take note of all the physical changes you might have noticed during this time. 
  • The date of the last time you had unprotected sex with your partner.
  • How long you and your partner have been trying to conceive.
  • All kinds of medications you take including recreational drugs, vitamins, supplements, and steroids.
  • The dates of all the surgeries (if any) you have had in the past
  • If you drink or smoke along with the frequency 
  • Record of any genetic or chronic health condition you might have including diabetes or thyroid.
  • If you have a history of STDs 

In addition to these, you might also want to ask your doctor about suggestions to improve sperm quality.

Nonetheless, getting timely medical attention will help you recognize the exact reason behind your infertility. So, you can navigate your way towards the best treatment approach.


What Comes Next?

After a doctor collects all the necessary information from you, there will be a Male Infertility Test. These tests are carried out to confirm the signs of infertility in men. 

A specialist generally begins with physical examination and semen analysis. 

Diagnosis of Infertility in Men

For a proper diagnosis, the fertility specialist will collect the sperm in a jar and test it in the lab for the number, shape, and mobility of sperm. Furthermore, this also helps determine the sperm concentration per milliliter of ejaculation fluid.

Along with the sperm analysis, you may also be asked to take a blood test to check for hormonal levels. 

Further, your doctor may advise in favor of a urinalysis to check for any infection. At this stage, they also check for the presence of sperm in the urine to assess if there’s retrograde ejaculation.

Getting asked to undergo an ultrasound or MRI is also a possibility for further testing. Depending on your results, you may be able to fix infertility.

Treatment of Male Infertility

Some cases are indeed treatable and can help you and your partner have a child. In such circumstances, your doctor may suggest in vitro fertilization to make biological pregnancy possible.

However, cases with an underlying genetic cause may not have any treatments. 

Understand that the Types of Male Infertility can have to do with anything ranging from genes to medical to lifestyle factors.

For that reason, it’s usually hard to pinpoint What Causes Male Infertility without a medical diagnosis. 

Even if the causes are clear, not all cases get treatments and that may be heartbreaking. It is quite natural to have an emotional reaction at this stage and finding emotional support helps.


Ways to Cope with Infertility in Men

Finding out about infertility can be an unsettling episode for a couple, regardless of who has the issues. There’s also a certain level of social stigma attached to it.

For reasons like this and many more, you might find yourself unprepared to handle the news.

Not to mention, it can also affect a man’s sense of confidence and masculinity. Finding emotional and mental support is paramount. 

How to Cope with Male Infertility:

  • Consult a doctor or a sexual therapist 
  • Have an open dialogue with your partner about your feelings
  • Schedule an appointment with a counselor for mental support
  • Talk to family and friends for support
  • Abstain from alcohol and smoking to cope 
  • Go for stress-busting and calming activities such as meditation 
  • Take an active part in sports or other activities you enjoy
  • Continue to eat and sleep properly


Take This Message Home

Infertility is a sensitive topic, though it’s not something to be ashamed of. In fact, about 20% of couples have trouble conceiving. One in 20 men has low levels of sperm, which could make having a child difficult. 

So, if diagnosed with infertility, you’re definitely not alone. Early medical attention is your best shot at understanding your options and even having a child in some cases.

Not only that, timely diagnosis is useful in avoiding the development of any underlying issues. Remember, any of the signs of infertility in men can also be indicative of an undiagnosed problem.

Thus, tell your doctor of every physical change you experience and that might also increase your odds of conceiving.

Marcus Elburn

Dr. Marcus Elburn is an MSc graduate in Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology. Apart from internal medicine and geriatrics, his areas of research interests include integrative medicine, cardiometabolic risk management, endocrinology and metabolism, and pharmacology of sexual function and dysfunction. Read More... About Me

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