Azoospermia: what it is, how it can affect fertility and how to treat

Azoospermia corresponds to the complete absence of sperm in the semen, being one of the main causes of infertility in men. This condition can be classified according to its cause into:

  • Obstructive azoospermia: there is an obstruction in the place where the sperm should pass, which may be due to changes in the vas deferens, the epididymis or due to vasectomy surgery;
  • Non-obstructive azoospermia: it is characterized by the lack of sperm production, which can be a consequence of some congenital disease or due to strokes in the testicles.

Although azoospermia is a major cause of infertility in men, there are also other problems that can prevent men from getting their partner pregnant, such as infections or hormonal changes. See what are the main causes of infertility in men and how to treat.

The treatment of azoospermia is done according to the cause. When it comes to non-obstructive azoospermia, treatment is more complicated, often with no solution, but in the case of obstructive azoospermia, the cause can be resolved through surgery, thus reconstituting man's fertile capacity.

What can cause azoospermia

Azoospermia is caused by any condition that affects the production, storage or transport of sperm to the urethra. So the main causes include:

  • Injuries to the testicles or the epididymis, caused by blows;
  • Infections in the male reproductive system;
  • Presence of a tumor in the testis;
  • Side effect of some chemotherapy medication;
  • Cryptorchidism, which is a situation in which the testicles do not descend into the scrotum - understand more about cryptorchidism;
  • Varicocele;
  • Recent surgery in the pelvic region.

In addition, the presence of genetic changes can also cause difficulty in sperm production, eventually causing azoospermia from birth.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The most common way to diagnose azoospermia is through a sperm test, a laboratory test in which a sample of the man's semen is evaluated, allowing to check the quality and quantity of sperm present.

However, even if the spermogram indicates the absence of sperm in the semen, the urologist should request other complementary tests to confirm the diagnosis and identify its cause. Learn more about the spermogram and how it is done.

How the treatment is done

The treatment of azoospermia is done according to the cause, but usually when it is an obstructive azoospermia, the treatment is surgical and aims to correct the cause, allowing the sperm to pass again.

In the case of non-obstructive azoospermia, the treatment is more complicated, and the man must be submitted to complementary tests, mainly hormonal, to check his reproductive capacity.

In either case, it is always very important for the man to follow up with a psychologist, as the diagnosis can create negative emotions, which can end up generating depression, especially because some men can feel their masculinity affected.