Derived from the Greek word “Andros” which means male, Andrology is the branch of medicine dealing with problems around the male reproductive system. It is often considered as gynaecology for men, however being a new area of specialisation, andrology is not as commonly known as gynaecology. Male fertility is a critical and complex issue and doctors are now taking an extensive interest in developing ways of treating and curing such problems.

Andrology entails issues like

  • Erectile dysfunction, which is the inability to achieve or maintain erection needed to have sexual intercourse. It is often stereotypically considered an embarrassment for men, however, it’s a very common medical condition and can be easily cured with the right treatment.
  • Infertility due to male factors counts for 50% of the infertility issues. Though it is stereotypically considered embarrassing, it can be cured with the right treatment and medical help. Low sperm production, blockages preventing the delivery of sperms or abnormal sperm function could lead to infertility.
  • Male hormone deficiency is a critical concern as they play a critical part in the process of reproduction. Deficiencies in male hormones and androgens can immensely impact the male attributes in men and could lead to many other health issues.
  • Prostate disease is common among men aged above 50. The gland secretes fluid that is associate with sperm formation in men. Some common problems around the prostate gland are prostatitis, prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.

Causes of Andrological issues include

There could be several different reasons for andrological issues and some are even beyond human control. Some common reasons include:

  • diabetes, smoking, alcoholism, obesity,
  • Medications for blood pressure and antidepressants
  • Hormonal problems
  • Surgery for prostate, bladder, colon
  • Prostate cancer treatment
  • Spinal cord injuries

Also, andrological issues could be because of anatomical problems, genetic defects or could be due to prolonged exposure to medication, chemicals and toxins.

Diagnosis and treatment

  • Semen Analysis is a process that evaluates the characteristics of the men’s semen and the sperms contained in it. It evaluates male fertility or verifies the success of vasectomy.
  • Antisperm Antibody Testing is a process that looks for antibodies or special proteins that fight against sperm in vaginal fluid, blood or semen
  • Post-vasectomy Semen Analysis is the process of examining the semen under a microscope to check if there are sperms are present. It confirms the success of the vasectomy procedure.

Some other diagnosis procedures include Retrograde Ejaculation Evaluation, Testicular biopsy evaluation, Sperm Processing for A.R.T. Preparation Method. Semen and/or Testicular Tissue Cryopreservation and Thawing and Sperm banking are often used to solve reproductive issues.

Treatment under Andrology

Treatments for male fertility issues are primarily around the medical conditions underneath leading to infertility. After conducting the fertility tests to facilitate the diagnosis, the andrologist takes up the best treatment according to the problem, it’s situation and seriousness. Treatment could include drug therapy to treat hormonal disorders or surgeries like varicoceles and other correctional surgeries that create obstructions in the reproductive tract. In case of further unresolved fertility issues, procedures like intracytoplasmic sperm injection(icsi) in conjunction with IVF is used to achieve pregnancy. ICSI is the process of inseminating a single sperm to the egg, derived from IVF that is eventually implanted to the uterus. Specifically, the treatment could involve

  • Surgery includes procedures like correction of a varicocele or repair of obstructions on vas deferens, a reversal of prior vasectomies, etc. In cases where the semen does not contain sperm, surgical procedures are used to retrieve them directly from testicles or epididymis.
  • Treating sexual intercourse issues through counselling or medications can solve a significant share of male reproductive issues
  • Hormone treatments are suggested when the body produces more or less of a specific hormone. The doctor conducts hormone replacement or prescribes medications in such cases.
  • Treatment for infections with antibiotics and other drugs. However, this can cure an infection in the reproductive tract but doesn’t often restore reproductive fitness.
  • Assisted reproductive technology is the process of obtaining sperms through normal ejaculation, from donors or through surgical procedure depending upon the case. The sperms are then inserted to the female genital tract or used for Vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.