Erectile dysfunction (ED) and fertility are some of the most common sexual dysfunctions affecting men around the world. Research has found that many men are willing to pay more to improve their sex life than for many other life priorities. For instance, in a survey conducted to determine the most critical issues men with diabetes worry about, it was found that, after kidney and blindness, ED was third on the list.
This shows that, regardless of health status, most men tend to prioritize their sex life and their ability to procreate. Therefore, it is not surprising that most people with erectile dysfunction tend to also worry about their sperm count. While these two are closely related, the question is, does the presence of one lead to the other?
Can Erectile Dysfunction Affect Sperm Count?
The straightforward answer to this question is: No, ED does not automatically mean you have a low sperm count. But there is more to it beyond the straightforward answer. To fully understand this, it will be necessary to analyze these two terms and see the relationship between them.
Understanding Male Fertility and Sperm Count
Fertility is the ability to ability to conceive through natural means. Fertilization takes place when the movement of successful sperm cells from a male enters the uterus and swim up the fallopian tube to reach the egg cell or ovum of a female. Male infertility, therefore, refers to a man’s inability to cause pregnancy in a fertile woman. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 9% of men between the ages of 25 to 44 in the U.S. reported that they or their partner visited a doctor due infertility during their lifetime.
Sperm count is measured by the number of spermatozoa released per ejaculation. Sperm counts vary from around 20 million to 100 million sperm cells per ejaculation. Men with a healthy reproduction system produce 1.5 to 5 millimeters of semen each time they ejaculate.
A man is said to have low count sperm when the semen ejaculated during orgasm has fewer sperm cells than normal. Anything less than 15 million per millimeter of semen is considered to be lower than normal. The medical term for this is oligospermia. Another related term is azoospermia, which refers to the complete absence of sperm.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction or impotence is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient enough for sexual intercourse. It can be a consistent or recurrent issue. In the United States, about 30 million men experience ED and can be caused by certain physical or psychological factors.
While ED can affect males of any age, its effect is greater in men over the age of 40. Regardless of the original cause, it usually co-occurs with anxiety and depression. Physical causes include high blood pressure, heart disease, clogged blood vessels, diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol. Its psychological causes include stress and anxiety, low self-esteem, feelings of guilt, and relationship problems. Lifestyle is another factor – smoking, alcoholism, recreational drug use, and some medications can affect your sex life.
How Erectile Dysfunction Affects Sexual Intercourse
Sexual intercourse is a coordinated activity involving multiple organs and chemicals in the body. It originates from the brain to the penile area. When there is sexual arousal, which can be at the thought or sight of an attractive sexual partner, the excitatory neurotransmitters in the brain will fire signals to the smooth muscles. This will open up and fill the penile arteries with blood, resulting in an erection. If this process is affected by any factor, getting an erection can become difficult or even impossible, resulting in unpleasant sexual encounters.
Is There Any Relationship Between ED and Lower Sperm Count?
Having erections and producing sperm are two separate processes in the body. Therefore, one does not directly impact the other. You may have erectile dysfunction, and yet able to produce sperm at a normal concentration. In the same vein, you may be having healthy, regular erections or even sexual intercourse, and yet be producing too little or no sperm in your semen.
In light of the above explanation, therefore, it will be a misconception to pinpoint ED as a direct cause of infertility or lower sperm count. However, there is a way that having ED can affect your ability to cause pregnancy in a fertile woman, even if you produce healthy and sufficient sperm. That can happen due to the difficulties you may have in delivering the semen. The good news is that ED is treatable.
Treating Erectile Dysfunction
To overcome or prevent erectile dysfunction, you need to work with a health care professional. While it is your personal decision to choose a preferred option, working with an expert will help you know the best treatment for you. The severity and underlying cause of your case will be accessed, and this will determine the next cause of action. There are many treatment methods for ED. They include:
Sometimes, all it takes to overcome ED is just a change in lifestyle. Some of the natural means that can help you improve your sex life include involving your partner in the fight against the condition, eating right, losing weight, exercising, and walking regularly. These suggestions, especially eating right and exercise, have been found to reduce the risks of having ED.
For instance, in one Harvard study, it was discovered that 30 minutes of walking a day could help reduce the risk of ED by 41%. Another study also revealed that foods like vegetables, fruits, fish, and whole-grain with less red and processed meat and grains, reduced the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.
Going for Counseling
If you suspect that there are emotional and psychological issues affecting your sex life, you may need to see a counselor. Your counselor can guide you on how to lower your anxiety or stress. Working with a doctor and a counselor in tandem will bring faster, better results as each of them focuses on the physical and psychological causes, respectively.
Other ED Treatments
According to Harvard Health, the cause of ED in about 75% of men is more complex. Some ED severity levels may require more comprehensive treatments. The applications and effects of these methods vary widely. They include:
- Injectable medicines and suppositories
- Vacuum devices
- Penile implant surgery
- Intracavernosal injection therapy
- Low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy
Treating Erectile Dysfunction With Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy is a relatively new but efficient treatment for ED. It involves the use of low-energy impulses to improve blood flow to the penis. Because a clogged blood vessel is one of the major causes of ED, this treatment has been shown to be highly effective.
Shockwave therapy has both healing and therapeutic effects in the penile area. The repairing or correction is done by unclogging the penile arteries and eliminating the micro-plaques that affects blood vessels. This will promote a regenerative process of new and healthy blood vessels.
How Do I Know if Shockwave is Right for Me?
Certified professionals perform shockwave therapy with established procedures. Before the treatment, a thorough medical examination will be carried out to determine its appropriateness for you. After that, the best course of treatment will be mapped out, and you will be scheduled for the therapy. Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical procedure that only lasts for 15 to 20 minutes per session. It is not painful and doesn’t require taking a break from your daily routine. Immediately after the treatment, you will be able to walk out of the clinic and resume your normal activities.
How Effective Is Shockwave Therapy for ED?
Shockwave therapy is highly effective and safe for ED treatment. It not only leaves you with long-lasting beneficial effects but also produces quick results. You will begin to notice an improvement in your sex life as you will be able to have intercourse within a week after the treatment. Unlike some medications that may require administration for every sexual encounter, the effects of shockwave therapy can last for months after the treatment – and you won’t need any external aid to have sex.
How Shockwave Therapy MD Can Help
Here at Shockwave Therapy MD, we have a team of highly trained medical experts with a commitment to helping men attain and maintain their best form of sexual performance. We use advanced shockwave therapy technologies and the best modalities to help you overcome any kind of sexual dysfunction. Our service is also ideal for sexually-healthy men who just want to improve their sex life to better satisfy their partner. Scheduling an appointment with us today is as simple as filling this contact form.