Male infertility is a rarely discussed topic. However, doctors have seen an increase in the number of male patients going to sexual health clinics for help in recent years. Doctors have found that different sexual health issues reported by men were not prevalent before, which also indicates greater awareness and openness regarding male sexual health.

Different male sexual health issues

A study published in the journal International Journal of Impotence Research on July 1, 2020, said there has been a change in the sexual issues men are now complaining about.

Scientists have accumulated comprehensive data on 2,013 patients who were continuously evaluated by an expert in sexual medicine between the years 2006 and 2019. Scientists found that 824 patients were evaluated for erectile dysfunction, 369 patients received an erectile dysfunction. Diagnosed with curvature of the penis (Peyronie’s disease), 322 patients had premature ejaculation, 204 suffered from low libido and the remaining 294 had other sexual dysfunctions.

In this study, scientists found that earlier, more men were diagnosed with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. However, more recently, men have been diagnosed with low sexual desire and Peyronie’s disease.

Along with the effective treatment options for erectile dysfunction such as Viagra and Cialis and awareness, men have also reported more other sexual dysfunctions.

Cap-Score: a test to know the quality of sperm

Male infertility is one of the main reasons for the growing number of in vitro fertilization (IVF) cases around the world. Previous tests like semen analysis, also called a semiogram, have been done to determine the quality and ability of sperm to fertilize. However, due to the lack of an appropriate diagnostic test to assess male fertilization ability, most cases of infertility are classified as idiopathic or unexplained.

In a recent research article in the journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online, scientists at various universities in the United States have used Cap-Score to test men’s sperm capacitation.

Sperm capacitation is a natural process where the sperm (mobile male sex cell) changes shape in order to enter and fertilize the female egg. The Cap-Score is a test which determines the percentage of sperm that undergo capacitation within a certain period of time. Usually, 35 percent of a man’s sperm with normal fertility would undergo capacitation.

In this study, scientists took semen samples from 292 patients and tested their ability to reproduce using the traditional semen analysis test and the Cap-Score. Among these patients, 128 couples became pregnant after three cycles of intrauterine insemination (placing sperm in a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization).

Scientists found that those with a high Cap-Score were able to fertilize more effectively and resulted in a higher number of pregnancies. Scientists also found that men who constantly questioned their fertility had impaired or reduced capacity for capacitation.

Advantages of Cap-Score over traditional semen analysis

Scientists have found that traditional semen analysis is unable to identify alterations in fertilization capacity, which usually leads to a diagnosis of idiopathic infertility. Scientists have found that unlike traditional semen analysis, capacitation is a better test that helps determine whether or not there is a successful generation of pregnancy.

These two studies indicate that with increased awareness of male sexual health issues, men are choosing to report these conditions and seek treatment for these conditions, and with the widespread adoption of better semen analysis tests. Like the Cap-Score by the medical community, male sexual dysfunction and infertility can be best treated globally.

For more information, read our article on low sperm count.

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