Thursday, April 3, 2014

Delicate answers to the indelicate question of low sperm count

By Meluse Kapatamoyo

As mentioned earlier on my facebook page, Pokeyourmind, I will be dedicating some time to following up on topics sent in by my readers. The subject below is one that has topped the list of requests sent in, not only by men but surprisingly by women too. I spoke to Dr Robert Mtonga on the topic ‘Low Sperm Count’ and here is what he had to say...

Pokeyourmind: What is low sperm count?

Dr Mtonga: It refers to the ejaculation of less than 15 million sperms per millilitre, (The normal ejaculate should contain at least 250 million sperms).

Pokeyourmind: What are the causes?

Dr Mtonga: There are many causes and these include pre-pubertal state( which refers to boys before they attain puberty), disease conditions e.g Sexually transmitted diseases, infections, abnormal growths in the tubes  that conduct sperms to the outlet, problems with sperm production and storage areas, failure to ejaculate, tumours, hormonal problems, certain medications, alcohol and tobacco use, industrial chemicals, stress and emotional problems, poor diet, stress, overweight among others.

Pokeyourmind: What are some of the known signs that someone has a low sperm count?

Dr Mtonga: Infertility is the obvious and commonest tale-tell sign. Definitively however, a man needs to have a special test known as Semen Analysis. Semen is the fluid that contains sperms.

Pokeyourmind: Depending on results from the semen analysis, when can it be considered dangerous enough to warrant medical attention?

Dr Mtonga: A sperm count of less than 15 million sperms is cause for worry if coupled with infertility. A result showing abnormally shaped sperms, less motile sperms, high fluid acidity etc. do not herald good news. Other relative indications that send men, sometimes with their partners in tow, include erectile dysfunction, pain on ejaculation, blood in the semen and trauma or surgery to the spermatic cord.

Pokeyourmind: How does it interfere with one’s ability to make a woman pregnant?

Dr Mtonga: A low sperm count does not necessarily lead to impotence but is one of the most common causes of it. Paradoxically a man need only one sperm to make a woman pregnant, but chances are greatly reduced with a low sperm count.

Pokeyourmind: Can a man enjoy sex when they have a low sperm count?

Dr Mtonga: Definitely.  A low sperm count does not interfere directly with enjoyment of sexual intercourse. A man who is losing sleep over a low sperm count obviously will not enjoy sexual intercourse due to psychological reasons.

Pokeyourmind: What is the prevalence rate?

Dr Mtonga: No research has been done in Zambia on the subject. Globally it varies from place to place depending on underlying factors.

Pokeyourmind: What can be done to reverse this condition?

Dr Mtonga: This depends on the underlying cause(s). The remedy ranges from behaviour changes such as reducing alcohol intake, losing weight, treating an organic condition, using medication to boost the production, corrective surgery etc.

Pokeyourmind: What myths are associated with low sperm count?

Dr Mtonga: These are many and include:- marital unfaithfulness, witchcraft and ancestral curses, weakness of the manhood, the wife is using charms, wearing tight pants, jealousy from rivals etc. PYM.