What are the General Physical Examinations for Male Infertility?
For a proper treatment, it is important to find the root cause of male infertility. After getting a detailed medical history of the patient, the doctor will then perform a detailed physical examination to assess the pelvic organs – the testis, prostate, penis and scrotum.
The Physical Examination for Male Infertility
Given below are the details of the physical examination conducted for male infertility:
Examination of Testicles
The doctor will palpate closely on the testicles and check if it can be felt on each side. This is to know if any problem related to undescended testicles, neonatal testicles, or retractile testicles is the cause of infertility.
Next, the doctor examines the size of the testicles. The normal sized testicle is a sign that sperm production is not hampered by any means whereas; a small and firm testicle often indicates some problem with sperm production. The testicular volume will be checked, which should range between 15 to 25 cm cubed. Testicular volume can be checked using an orchidometer, calipers or with ultrasound.
The patient will also be checked for any abnormal testicular masses. Male infertility can also be caused by testicular cancer. Scrotal skin abnormalities like genital warts will also be examined.
Check for Epididymis
The epididymis is a duct that connects testis to vas deferens in male reproductive system .It stores sperms produced by the testis, brings them to maturity and forces the sperms into vas deferens during sexual arousal. Doctors will check for any swelling or congestion in this part. If in case there is any blockage of sperm transport, then the backing up of sperm happens into the epididymis and thus causing it to swell. This leads to infection and thus hampering the spermatogenesis process. Inflammation or infection within epididymis makes it extra soft and tender.
Varicocele or dilated veins within the scrotum can be easily visible during the physical examination for male infertility. The patient will be asked to stand straight and exhale while keeping the mouth closed and pinching the nose shut. This will help the doctor to feel impulse within the dilated veins
Examination of the Penis
Penis is the male organ for sexual intercourse. When a man is sexually aroused the penis will become rigid and erect due to the blood supply in it, which facilitates sexual penetration. When the man reaches orgasm semen is ejaculated through the penis.The doctor will check the location of the urinary meatus. If it’s located elsewhere other than the tip of the penile head then the patient is suffering from a condition called as hypospadias or epispadias. This condition can significantly impact the fertility of a man.
The patient will be then checked for any discharge of fluid from the opening of the penis. This could mean he is suffering from some kind of infection either in the urethra or the genital duct system.
EXAMINATION OF SCROTUM
Scrotum is a skin covered musular sac that holds the testicles. Its function is to protect and maintain the temperature of the testis. For normal spermatogenesis the temperature of the testis is slightly cooler than the body temperature.