Hormones are like hardworking backstage artists - you can't see 'em, but you know they're always there.
The male hormonal machinery is composed of various hormones, each responsible for a distinct function. For example, gonadotropins regulate the functioning of the testes and are of various types - chief among them, the luteinising hormone (LH), which governs testosterone production, and the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates sperm production. Testosterone, on its part, plays a critical role in fortifying muscles and bones, enhancing energy levels, optimising libido and maintaining erections. A testosterone deficiency is known as hypogonadism.
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A man's hormonal reserves can have a direct impact on his reproductive mechanism. In particular, inadequate testosterone and gonadotropin levels can hamper fertility. Hormone-induced male infertility can stem from either glandular conditions or compromised sperm production. Here, we cast a spotlight on both.
Hormonal imbalances can affect various glands, including the hypothalamus, thyroid, pituitary gland, prostate and testicles. A disruption to any of these can lead to a decline in sperm production or quality.
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Skewed hormones can affect sperm count, sperm morphology and sperm motility, in turn, increasing the risk of infertility. Sperm disorders can further be broken down into the following categories.
This refers to the non-existence of sperm in semen. This could be caused due to non-production of sperm, or a testicular obstruction or malfunction preventing sperm from leaving the testes.
When semen carries a low sperm count, the condition is termed as oligospermia.
This is the medical term for low sperm motility. Sperm with low motility is limited in their ability to swim out far enough to reach the egg.
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When sperm is morphologically impaired, it is known as teratozoospermia. Misshapen sperm is those with an abnormal shape - like a crooked head, or more than one head or tail. Such sperm might find it challenging to penetrate and subsequently fertilise an egg. When they exist in large numbers, they could lead to infertility.
Hormonal imbalances can lead to lower sperm concentration, reduced libido, exhaustion, depression, muscular fatigue, enlarged breasts and even osteoporosis. If you experience any of these and are finding it hard to conceive, visit a fertility specialist for a thorough work-up. A treatment plan for male infertility hinges on the exact nature of your condition. For disorders like azoospermia, oligospermia, asthenospermia and teratozoospermia, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) may be your best route to conception. Glandular disorders, on the other hand, may be suited for hormone therapy.
Hormonal imbalance can be overwhelming when you're trying to start a family, serving as a permanent roadblock between you and parenthood. With the right treatment plan, however, you can take a detour that works for you. Find yours on Cloudnine.
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