Low Sperm Count – What Causes It

Low Sperm Count – What Causes It


By Dr. Abhishek S Parihar , Gynaecology

What is Low Sperm Count?

Low sperm count or ‘Oligospermia’ is a condition that indicates that the semen that you discharge during a sexual climax comparatively contains fewer sperm cells than normal (the limit being 15 million sperm cells in a milliliter of semen).

How would you know if you have a low sperm count?

  1. You have difficulty in sustaining an erection during an intercourse.
  2. Lump formation in your testicle region accompanied by pain.
  3. Amount of body or facial hair reduces.
  4. Inability to father a child even after indulging in unprotected sexual intercourse.

What causes a low sperm count?

  1. Inflammation of the veins that may lead to draining of the testicles.
  2. Infections can hinder the production of sperms and affect your sperm health.
  3. A condition called ‘Retrograde Ejaculation’ wherein the semen goes back into the bladder during an orgasm instead of an ejaculation through the tip of the penis.
  4. Anti-sperm antibodies that mistakenly consider the sperm as a potential threat and try destroying them. This usually happens in case you have undergone a vasectomy (technique of male sterilization) surgery.
  5. Cancerous or other benign tumors can also result in this condition by affecting one’s pituitary gland.
  6. Testicles which haven’t descended to the sac from the abdomen.
  7. Hormonal abnormalities.
  8. Defects in the sperm duct.
  9. Disorders in inherited chromosomes.
  10. Celiac disease: A disorder caused because of gluten sensitivity.
  11. Side-effects of certain medications such as antibiotic medicines or antifungal creams, chemotherapy, medications to treat ulcers and other anabolic steroids.
  12. Environmental factors such as over-exposure to industrial chemicals, heavy metals such as lead, X-rays or radiations and long hours of bicycling.
  13. Lifestyle and health related factors such as substance abuse, excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking tobacco, high levels of stress and being over-weight or obese.


  1. Surgery can be an option to fix the swelling of the veins and sperm retrieval methods to retrieve sperms from one’s testicles.
  2. Nursing the infections using antibiotics; however, this may not end up restoring one’s fertility.
  3. Hormonal therapies and treatments for treating low or excess levels of a few hormones or to treat the way your body uses certain hormones.
  4. Assisted Reproductive Technology treatments that involve methods of normal ejaculation to obtain sperms or from sperm donors.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies-

There are steps you can take at home to increase your chances of getting your partner pregnant, including:

  1. Increasing the frequency of sex. Having sexual intercourse every day or every other day beginning at least four days before ovulation increases your chances of getting your partner pregnant.
  2. Having sex when fertilization is possible. A woman is likely to become pregnant during ovulation — which occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle, between periods. This will ensure that sperm, which can live several days, are present when conception is possible.
  3. Avoiding lubricants. Some products such as Astroglide or K-Y jelly, lotions, and saliva might impair sperm movement and function. Ask your doctor about sperm-safe lubricants.