Low sperm count is also known as oligospermia. It occurs when the semen contains fewer sperm than normal. Based on guidelines by the World Health Organization, low sperm count is when the number is below 15 million per milliliter (mL). As a result, it increases the risk for male infertility.
While pregnancies can still occur, having a low sperm count can make it more difficult. Poor lifestyle choices and certain medical conditions can affect sperm count and quality.
How common is low sperm count?
Male infertility is usually associated with sperm problems, including low sperm count. This, however, is very common. According to an article, 50% of men dealing with infertility identified low sperm count as the primary cause.
In the Philippines, 25% of infertility cases are attributed to male infertility caused by injuries, low sperm count and quality, and genetic defects.
What are the symptoms of low sperm count?
Infertility is the main consequential symptom of oligospermia or low sperm count. However, there are certain underlying conditions which may cause physical changes in the male’s body to occur. The common symptoms associated with low sperm count are:
Varicoceles are enlarged veins in the scrotum. These affect proper blood flow, thus, making it hard for the sperm to grow and develop.
It is the inability to maintain an erection for sexual intercourse. Blood flow is disrupted, and therefore, cannot reach penile arteries.
Testicular pain and swelling
Pain, swelling, and inflammation around the testicular region is a common associated symptom of low sperm count.
Reproductive structural problems can block the sperm during ejaculation. For example, tubes that carry the sperm might be damaged due to accidents/physical injury, repeated infections, or developmental defects since birth.