Causes of Infertility: Infections

Causes of infertility for men are often from infections. In some cases, these infections may lead to duct obstruction and a decrease in sperm production, and perhaps even to permanent male infertility.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Infections and infertility are normally only temporary unless they are from episodes that occur frequently. Sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, are considered the leading cause of infertility for men. Others may include human papillomaviruses, ureaplasma (sexually transmitted microorganism commonly affecting the urogenital tract), mycoplasma (microorganisms of bacteria lacking cell walls) and genital warts. If infections such as these are not treated early, they can cause blockages and scarring that may lead to tube blockage problems and infertility. Early treatment normally consists of antibiotics with later treatment being surgery.

Bacterial Infections

The blockage of the ducts is normally caused by a vasectomy, but may also be caused by repeated infections, or by an infection that worsens from not being treated. Infections may alter sperm quality and motility. Bacterial infections such as the staphylococcus aureus bacterial infection may cause obstructions of the sperm ducts. When this occurs, there may be difficulties with producing and ejecting sperm and may lead to male infertility. In addition, tuberculosis may cause sperm abnormalities, as well as can influenza, smallpox, brucellosis, typhoid and syphilis. These infectious conditions cause a low sperm motility and sperm count.  

Inflammatory Infections of the Reproductive Tract

Inflammatory infections and problems of the reproductive tract may cause infertility. If these diseases occur before puberty, they may cause irreversible male infertility. Although antibiotic treatments may help, infections in the testes may leave a great deal of scar tissue leading to a permanent problem. These reproductive tract infections may include:

  • Epididymitis: infection of the epididymis
  • Prostatitis: infection of the prostate
  • Urethritis: infection in the urethra
  • Orchitis: infection of the testes
  • Semino-Vesculitis: infection of the glands that produce the semen

Viral Infections and White Blood Cells

White blood cells respond to the body’s response to infection and an increase with these cells, along with viral infections, may damage sperm function. The occurrence of Mumps after puberty may cause testicular inflammation and infertility problems, often occurring about 25 percent of the time.

Gum Infections

Previous medical reports already indicate that periodontic (relating to the structures of the teeth) infections may lead to heart disease, stroke, lower weight babies, premature births and more. Now, medical studies also show links between male infertility and gum disease, indicating that gum infections may contribute to male infertility. Research shows that men with healthy sperm are less likely to have gum disease and infertility issues. A good prevention against infertility would be for men to make more trips to the dentist to keep teeth and gums clean. More investigation is, however, necessary to confirm this finding.

Fever from Illness

Sperm are produced in the testes of the male. A prolonged fever from an illness increases the temperature of the testes, causing the number of sperm and movement to decrease, and could be one of the causes of infertility.