Low sperm count, reduced sperm motility and malformed sperms are main causes for male infertility. There are various biological and environmental factors which affect sperm count, motility and morphology. Many of these factors have been mentioned in ayurvedic texts. The causes of low sperm count are briefly explained below.
Innumerable researches have been conducted to determine the effect of ageing process on male fertility. A decrease in male fertility has been noted as age progresses. Maintenance of good health by following healthy lifestyle and diet retards ageing process. The rate of fertilization starts falling down for men who are above 40.
Hence “ Vajikarana Therapy” is recommended in ayurveda for men who are above 20 and below 70 to maintain optimum sexual activity and number of healthy sperms. Vajikarana Therapy recommends herbal preparations which are aphrodisiac in nature. Vajikarana therapy increases sperm count, sperm motility and quantity of semen. This therapy is helpful in erectile dysfunction.
Overheating of testicles:
Overheating of testicles due to high fever, hot water bath, saunas, tight pants or under garments can cause low sperm count. The Testes (two egg-shaped structures) remain in the Scrotum, outside the body, where the temperature is about 3 degrees C, cooler than the body internal temperature (27 degrees C. Sperm development in the Testes Requires the Lower Temperature.). Hence any factor which increases the temperature of testicles causes low sperm count.
According to Sushrutacharya Testicles are made of Kapha and Medha (fat). Increased heat imbalances kapha and medha , thus affecting sperm production.
Cocaine and Marijuana reduce sperm motility and sperm count by as much as 50%. Smoking reduces sperm count, sperm motility and also causes genetic changes. Smoking causes low sex drive, erectile dysfunction or impotence. Alcohol can damage sperms. Hence alcohol intake should be reduced to increase fertility.
Diet and Life Styles:
Stress at work place or in family, strained relationship, lubricants or spermicides used in condoms and physical stress can temporarily cause low sperm count. Malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies cause low sperm count. Deficiency of Vitamin C, Zinc, selenium etc can reduce sperm count. Bicycling can cause low sperm count, as testicles and scrotum may get injured during riding. Some studies have revealed that obesity may be a cause for low sperm count.
Genetic factors :
Malformed organs or tissues in male reproductive system.
Obstruction of semen carrying tubes.
Persons with 1 extra X chromosome (Normal chromosome in man is 1 X and 1 Y chromosome)
Environmental factors :
Overexposure to toxins, chemicals and infections. Pesticides, hydrocarbons and mumps in adult hood can cause low sperm count. Chronic exposure to heavy metals like lead, arsenic or cadmium can cause low sperm count. Radiations and X-rays affect sperm producing cells.
Vericose vein in the cord of the testicle can cause low sperm count.
Acharya Charaka in his ayurvedic text, mentions the following factors as causes for low quality of semen.
Jaraayaa Chintaaya shukram vyadhibhihi karmakarshanaat |
Kshayam gacchatyanashanaat sthreenaam chaatinishevanaath ||
- Old age
- Over indulgence in sexual act
- Strained relationship.