What can cause a low sperm count?

What can cause a low sperm count?

A low sperm count, medically referred to as oligozoospermia, is identified as a condition when there is fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen. This condition decreases the chances of one of the sperms fertilising the egg and therefore causing trouble conceiving naturally. Nonetheless, many men diagnosed with low sperm count are still able to father a child.

Causes of Low Sperm Count

Low sperm count can be caused by medical problems, environmental factors and/or lifestyle changes.

Medical Problems

The medical problems include:


Varicocele is a condition of enlarged veins in the scrotum. This condition increases the temperature around the testicles deterring the production of good quality sperms.


Certain infections such as inflammation of the testicles or sexually transmitted diseases can affect sperm production and sperm health by blocking or scarring the passage of sperms.


Anti-sperm antibodies are immune system cells which identify sperms as harmful and attack them.

Undescended Testicles

Sometimes, at birth, one or both testes fail to descend from the abdomen into the scrotum. Infertility is common in men with this condition.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder in which one is allergic to gluten. This disease is also known to cause infertility in men who have it.

Lifestyle Factors

Below listed are some of the lifestyle factors that can cause low sperm count:

Use of Drug

The use of anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass and strength directly affects sperm production and can cause the testicles to shrink. Abuse of marijuana and cocaine too may lower the count and quality of sperms.


Smoking tobacco may be a factor of decreased sperm count in men.


Excessive drinking is known to lower testosterone levels and thereby reducing the number of sperms.


Stress, depression and weight gain are other lifestyle factors which hinder the process of manufacturing sperms and are causes of low sperm count.

Exposure to Hazardous Environment Elements

Sperm production may even be affected by overexposure to hazardous environment elements such as industrial chemicals, metal exposure, radiation or x-rays and elevated temperatures.