A term used for low sperm count is oligospermia, it is a male fertility issue. In this, you will be able to get an erection and will also ejaculate during orgasm, but the sperm count will be low.

One can know that they have oligospermia only when trying to have a baby but not succeeding. In one millilitres of semen, there should be more than 15 million sperm. If one has less than 5 million sperm in one millilitres of semen, it is called severely low sperm count, also known as severe oligospermia.

If one has less than 5 million sperm in one millilitres of semen, it is called severely low sperm count, also known as severe oligospermia.

Difference between Oligospermia and Azoospermia?

Oligospermia means you have sperm in your semen, but the count is less than the specific numbers, whereas azoospermia means there is no sperm in the semen.

Azoospermia is mainly caused due to a blockage in your reproductive tract. However, it will lead to azoospermia if you have hormonal problems, ejaculating issues, or issues relating to testicular structure and function.

How can Oligospermia be Treated?

The treatment of oligospermia includes lifestyle changes as well as medical assistance. Following is some of the lifestyle changes that will help you to improve your sperm count or fertility: –

How can Oligospermia be Treated
  • Regular exercise
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol consumption
  • Use vitamins and testosterone-boosting supplements prescribed by a doctor
  • Having healthy diet
  • Avoid bathing in hot tubs
  • Manage your stress

Medical Treatments for Oligospermia

1. Hormonal Therapy

Fertility specialists give hormonal supplements in case of hormonal imbalance. These supplements help in regaining the balance of pituitary and testicular hormones. Such hormonal supplements include Clomiphene citrate and Anastrozole, also referred to as LH injections.

2. Surgical Measures

There are also surgical measures available to treat oligospermia. If you suffer from varicocele or blocked sperm ducts, it may also affect your sperm count. However, this can be treated successfully by surgical measures.

3. Other Reproductive Techniques

There are cases where oligospermia is caused due to genetic issues. So, in such cases, medical and surgical treatment may not improve sperm count. So, in such conditions, doctors may apply the method of sperm retrieval and assisted reproductive techniques like IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. These techniques will help you and your partner in achieving pregnancy.

Causes of Oligospermia

The following are the causes of oligospermia: –

1. Disease

Diseases that can cause low sperm count include: –

  • Genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and Klinefelter syndrome can cause low sperm count.
  • Oligospermia can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, and viral illnesses, including mumps.
  • Hormonal abnormalities like low testosterone and hypogonadism in which the sex glands do not produce enough sex hormones.
  • Blockages that do not allow sperm to move out of the body.

2. Environmental Toxins

Some environmental toxins are unsuitable for the body and affect sperm counts, such as heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

3. Heat

Heat-related situations can affect sperm production because testicles work best in a temperature slightly lower than the body temperature. Having undescended testicles, varicocele, or spending a long time in hot tubs can affect your sperm production.

4. Drugs

Some medicines can lower your sperm count. It can be both prescribed and non-prescription medicines. The medications that lower your sperm count include substances like Methadone, Lamotrigine, Testosterone, Clomipramine, Prednisone, Finasteride, etc.

So, if you think your medications are causing the problem, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

How is Oligospermia Caused?

Your doctor will first perform the physical examination and may also perform tests like semen analysis, Urinalysis for retrograde ejaculation, Imaging tests including transrectal and scrotal ultrasounds, a test of your endocrine system, test for a genetic disorder, etc.


Suppose you have difficulty conceiving; visit your doctor because you may suffer from oligospermia. There are treatments available for low sperm count. And in case you suffer from a genetic disorder, then opt for other options like IVF for getting pregnant.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

the most common symptom of oligospermia is not able to conceive despite unprotected sex for a year or more. Other symptoms may include: –

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain or swelling in the testicles area
  • Low sex drive
  • Hormonal abnormalities such as a decrease in facial and body hair

There are fertility treatments, like IUI, IVF with ICSI, etc., available for couples trying to conceive with low sperm count.

testosterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are the hormones responsible for making sperm in males.

The doctor first determines the cause of azoospermia and the treatment options. The causes like hormonal and obstructive are usually treatable and can restore fertility.

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