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Male Infertility, COVID-19 and Radiation-Proof Underwear

Male infertility isn’t discussed nearly as much as it should be. Do a quick google search about infertility and treatments for the condition and you’ll find articles after articles on options for women.

Did you know, men and women are both equally likely to suffer from fertility issues? Plus, studies have shown that men are producing less sperm now than 50 years ago – almost half the amount.

While there is no conclusive answer as to why this is happening, it has become more important than ever for men to take charge of their sexual health.

Even more disconcertingly perhaps is the new study that finds a link between male infertility and Covid-19. It may take years to fully understand – but the study found that Covid-19 could infect tissues in the testes and potentially impact fertility. They haven’t yet determined the effects on sperm itself.

But it does remind us that male infertility is a very real problem. And unlike most other issues that impact men’s health, infertility in men is an issue younger men are more concerned with.

Recently, Elemental, a Medium publication, wrote a piece on male infertility that takes readers through the journey of coming to terms with the new reality. As we’ve noted a big issue with male infertility is the lack of discussions surrounding it in mainstream media. It can leave young men feeling inadequate and alone. When in reality having fertility problems are rather common and, not really anyone’s fault.

The good news is that there are a plethora of treatments available to men who are facing fertility issues. The bad news is that a lot of treatments come with some pretty hefty side effects.

Let’s look into some reasons for infertility in men.

Research has shown that anything from your sleeping patterns to weight and history of illnesses can affect fertility. Some of the common causes of infertility include low sperm count or quality, obstructions or absence of tubes in the reproductive system, functional complications (i.e., the inability to ejaculate), and hormonal problems. Some believe radiation from modern technology is to blame for male infertility. As a result – the controversial radiation-proof underwear has been designed, claiming to protect men from cancer and fertility issues.

Should radiation-proof underwear be a thing? Does it work? There is no real answer. End of the day, you want to be seeing a medical professional to help you with fertility issues.

Men love putting off going for a doctor's visit, but, it’s never too early to seek medical help.


Varicoceles – A Common Fertility issue

Most of us have probably heard of Varicose veins or spider veins, generally among women. It is something more commonly associated with aesthetics as it presents as unsightly veins often on the legs. However, about 40% of male infertility cases are related to it.

More specifically – male infertility is linked to Varicoceles which is a mass of swollen and enlarged veins in the scrotum. Malfunctioning valves in the abdomen cause a backflow of blood. This results in veins stretching and swelling.

Though varicoceles are not dangerous, if left untreated they may lead to testicular atrophy – shrinkage of testicles and of course, infertility.

Varicoceles only cause pain in more severe cases; hence you may not even be aware that you are suffering from this ailment without self-examination.

The most common treatment for the condition is conservative management and in some instances surgical. But there is a better way to treat Varicoceles. It is a non-surgical or minimally invasive option that we offer here at Northern Beaches Interventional Radiology, Varicocele Embolisation.

Interventional radiologist Dr Shaun Quigley uses medical imaging to embolise or essentially “shut off” the vein causing you all that trouble. And unlike surgery, all this will take is a tiny nick in the groin and 2-3 hours in the hospital.

It’s time to take charge of your reproductive health. Here at NBIR, we would never treat you with interventional radiology if we didn’t think it was the best option for you.

Get in touch with us here, or if you are looking to refer a patient to us, you can access our referral forms here.

It is essential to check in with your doctor on the severity of your symptoms and the options available to you before making such an important decision.

Book a consultation with Dr Quigley

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