Azoospermia is a medical condition in which there are no sperms in a man's semen. There are no specific symptoms of this health problem but you might get to know through tests if you've been trying to get your partner pregnant but not able to have a baby. This problem makes your testicles not to produce sperm or stops sperm from getting out of your body. The normal sperm count of a man is 15 million/mL or more than that.
Men with lesser sperm count than this measure, (oligozoospermia or oligospermia) have a sperm concentration of less than 15 million/mL. If you are suffering from this condition azoospermia, there is no measurable sperm count in your ejaculate. There are mainly three types of azoospermia, including pretesticular azoospermia, testicular azoospermia and post testicular azoospermia. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Anupam Biswas, Consultant Endocrinologist, Fortis Hospital, Noida, about the symptoms, causes and treatment of azoospermia.
You may not have any symptoms or some may not even be aware that they have azoospermia until they are not able conceive. However, some signs you experience might be because of other related symptoms of any existing underlying causes, including hormonal problems or genetic chromosomal conditions. As per Dr. Anupam, some possible symptoms of azoospermia are:
1. Erectile dysfunction
Patients suffering from azoospermia may experience erectile dysfunction. Males fail to keep the erection firm enough for intercourse. Symptom of erectile dysfunction is not just complete inability to get an erection, but soft erections or trouble maintaing an erection may also indicate that you are suffering from azoospermia. If you face any such difficulty, you must reach for medical help.
2. Lower sex drive
Patients suffering from this disease might also suffer from lower sex drive. It is also a psychological factor because it really affects self esteem in men. They may also feel that they are comparatively very less attracted towards their partner. It may make the patient feel tired and stressed.
3. Less hair on the face or body
Azoospermia is associated with lower levels of testosterone in the body. Lower testosterone levels may lead to scarce growth of hair on face, chest, groin area and overall body. When a person who was once healthy and is facing this issue due to an injury might also experience slower hair growth and increased hair fall. Sudden pattern baldness also indicates some issue in your body.
4. Swelling around the testicles
Patients who suffer from obstructive azoospermia, may experience pain and swelling around their testicles. It mostly happens due to blockage of the passage and if you experience any sort of swelling in your groin, you must immediately consult a doctor. Some patients also report pain and increased swelling after sexual stimulation.
5. Discomfort around the testicles
Patients might experience pain and discomfort in their testicles. It can be both chronic and intermittent. Testicular pain can be due to issues in testicles as well as other internal organs. In most cases, such situations require immediate medical attention. Delay in getting help can also lead to permanent and more severe damage to the organ.
Azoospermia can happen due to a blockage along the reproductive tract, ejaculation issues, hormonal problems and abnormalities in the testicular structure or function. Certain causes of azoospermia can be treated, thus fertility can be restored. But due some causes, it might be possible to bring back live sperm to be used in reproductive medical procedures. As per Dr. Anupam, here are the main causes of azoospermia:
- Past surgeries in the pelvic area
- Trauma or injury
- Cystic fibrosis gene mutation
A semen analysis is done by the doctor to diagnose azoospermia. He/she might also ask you about your medical history and conduct a thorough physical exam as well. The expert would ask you to ejaculate in a cup and to get the sample to a lab for further testing and diagnosis. If no living sperm is found in the semen, it is a possibility you have azoospermia. As per Dr. Anupam, azoospermia can be treated using a few options if you want to have children.
If you have the obstructive type of azoospermia, then the best course of treatment is surgery as it can remove the blockage. If it got blocked recently, then there are higher chances that the surgery will be successful. Bringing back the sperm can help men who have nonobstructive azoospermia or those who have a blockage but do not want to go for a surgery. Another reproductive technique is to use a tiny needle to draw sperm from a testicle. You can freeze the sample and use later on through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Read more articles on Men's health