A new study found that men with a low sperm count could have more problems beyond infertility. In fact, this condition might be associated with several diseases and health problems that should receive more attention.
A total of 5,177 men participated in the study. The ones who had a low sperm count were 20 percent more likely to have more body fat, more “bad” cholesterol and higher blood pressure. They also had low testosterone levels.
The study suggests men with this condition should be tested for other health issues.
The study was carried out in Italy, counting with the participation of men in infertile couples. The aim was to discover if low sperm count could tell something more about men’s general health. According to the study, one of every three couples that want to get pregnant has to deal with low-quality sperm.
One in three couples who want to start a family face infertility
The men who had problems with their sperm count were prone to have metabolic syndrome, which is a risk factor for the development of diabetes and cardiovascular issues. This group of men was also about 12 percent more likely to have lower testosterone levels, which leads to the reduction of muscle mass and bone density. Therefore, they could be likelier to develop osteoporosis, which is a disease that makes the bones weak.
“Infertile men are likely to have important co-existing health problems or risk factors that can impair quality of life and shorten their lives”, said Dr. Alberto Ferlin, who led the study “Fertility evaluation gives men the unique opportunity for health assessment and disease prevention.”
Men with low-quality sperm are seldom investigated for other health problems
Dr. Ferlin says that men in couples that are struggling to get pregnant should receive a deeper diagnose. They could face a higher chance of mortality and morbidity.
On the other hand, Kevin McEleny, a consultant urologist at Newcastle Fertility Centre, considers that the health problems that could be related to low sperm count are rarely investigated.
“This is a message to fertility clinics, particularly, to think about these other health issues in the patients they see”, said McEleny. “It might be the case that it’s not just about fertility, about sperm in the men, but taking a slightly wider view of male health when they see these people and think about what else needs to be done to get the patients as healthy as possible.”
As well, Allan Pacey, who is a professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, agrees that more research needs to be done to understand the link between infertility in men and other problems. He said that he doesn’t think that infertility causes other health problems, but that it is more likely that these problems and infertility have a common cause.