Sperm count means sperm cell number per semen mL. Also sperm concentration term is used for sperm count. Sperm concentration or sperm count value is found by semen analysis test. Semen analysis is a type of laboratory test that is done to evaluate semen fluid and sperm cell features and diagnose male type infertility.
Sperm count value is important for fertility. In normal conditions sperm concentration value should be found at least 15 million sperm cells per mL of semen fluid( according to WHO; World Health Organisation). Total sperm count is found by multiplying sperm concentration number by semen mL value.
Low sperm count is a common cause of male infertility. There are some medical conditions and some lifestyle factors that may cause low sperm count.
Factors that affect sperm count
Alcohol : Drinking too much alcohol lowers testosterone level, sperm quality and sperm count. Also excess alcohol usage decreases male libido.
Drugs: Drugs have a negative effect on fertility, sperm production and testosterone production. Drugs like marijuana and cocaine affect sperm motility, sperm quality and decrease sperm count. Also supplements like anabolic steroids that are used by body builders may decrease sperm concentration. There are some type of prescription medication which may cause low sperm count like antibiotics, antihypertensives, anti-inflammatories, antipsychotics, etc.
Smoking: Smoking affects your general health, reduce sperm production and distubs fertility treatment. Smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day reduces your sperm count and sperm motility. Tobacco contains more than 4000 chemicals and lowers sperm count, semen volume and fertilizing capacity
Stress: Stress and depression lowers testosterone production. High stress level reduces sperm concentration, total sperm count and sperm motility
Obesity: Obesity disturbs hormonal balance, sperm quality and damages sperm DNA. Obesity may cause erectile dysfunction and low sperm count
Excessive exercise: Excessive physical exercise reduce testosterone level and may cause low sperm count. Exercising 3 times a week for one hour protects your general health and improves sperm count and sperm quality
Caffeine: Excess caffeine has a negative effect on both male and female fertility. Too much caffeine intake may decrease sperm count and sperm health
High temperature and tight clothes: High temperature is dangerous for testicles and sperm cells. Hot tubs, saunas, tight clothes increase testicular temperature. High temperature affects testicles and sperm production. This is the reason that testicles are outside of the body to keep sperm cells from high temperature. Prolonged exposure to high temperature may affect sperm production and cause low sperm count
Unhealthy diet: Eating too much processed meat, soy or fast food has a negative effect on your overall health and sperm production. Your body needs zinc,minerals and vitamins for healty sperm production. You may choose foods that increase sperm count to improve your sperm concentration like oysters, eggs, red fruits, garlic, etc.
Intercourse frequency: Having sex with your partner too frequent or too rare both are not good for sperm cells. If you are trying to get pregnant, having sex every three days gives your body the chance to produce enough healthy sperm cells