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Oligospermia: A Reproductive Issue After Age 40 Essay

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Updated: Sep 10th, 2021

A reproductive issue which men of any age can encounter and is considered irregular at ages younger than 40, is oligospermia. It is an aspect of male infertility characterized by low sperm count in semen. Other elements of sexual health may be impacted such as the ability to maintain an erection and produce ejaculation. According to international standards, a healthy sperm count ranges in the proximity of 15 million sperm per milliliter, with anything below that amount can be diagnosed as oligospermia (Dubin et al., 2018). Oligospermia is a symptom of a deeply rooted endocrine and systemic disorders, including primary and secondary hypogonadism, which is defined by poor testicular function, low testosterone levels, elevated levels of gonadotropin, and impairment of spermatogenesis (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2016). Sperm cells are unique in their expression of protamines that allow DNA to be compacted into the hydrodynamic sperm head which facilitates its movement towards the egg (Huether & McCance, 2016). In oligospermia, sperm quality is decreased, not only due to sperm count but also due to reduced mobility, further exacerbating male fertility.

A variety of treatments are available for low sperm count and quality, depending on the root of the issue. Often, lifestyle changes to naturally raise testosterone levels can be beneficial via diet and exercise, and even provide a nonpharmacological resolution to the problem. Patient education plays a vital role in this context, as it becomes important to instruct a patient on the importance of lifestyle change on improving hormone levels regardless whether or not pharmacological interventions are implemented. Hormone treatment and medications are another possibility as drugs or injections can be used for hormone replacement or stimulating production, depending on the origin of the issue. Patients with hypogonadism as the cause of oligospermia may respond well to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) therapy, effective in hypothalamic and pituitary dysfunctions. In more radical cases, surgery is a possibility to correct a varicocele or obstructed vas if it may present a practical solution to this medical issue. (Meier, Dave, & Bennett, 2018).

References

Dubin, J. M., Greer, A. B., Kohn, T. P., Masterson, T. A., Ji, L., & Ramasamy, R. (2018). Men with severe oligospermia appear to benefit from varicocele repair: A cost-effectiveness analysis of assisted reproductive technology. Urology, 111, 99-103. Web.

Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2016). Understanding pathophysiology (6th ed.). St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier.

Meier, K., Dave, C. N., & Bennett, R. C. (2016). Web.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2016). Web.

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