As researchers continue to look into the causes of infertility in men, doctors in Germany have stumbled across what could seem an unlikely culprit; inflammatory infections of the urinary tract. Researchers say upwards of 10% of male infertility could be the result of acute inflammatory urogenital reactions.
These infections, which are not always transmitted sexually, are often easily treated and then thought very little of moving forward. Common diagnoses include urinary tract infections (UTI), Chlamydia, or Escherichia.
The issue arises when the patient does not display symptoms, is not diagnosed, and therefore does not receive treatment. The research, which was compiled by Justus Liebig University Giessen, states that up to 25% of men who submit to a testicular biopsy in an attempt to find a cause for infertility will be found to have asymptomatic inflammatory reactions.
Additionally worrisome is the fact that the research suggests that infertility linked to these sorts of infections is permanent and irreversible. The findings, which were published in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International in 2017, suggest men take proper care to have inflammation diagnosed and treated promptly in an effort to avoid irreversible infertility later on. They suggest making screening for these infections a standard part of the initial medical workup for couples who are struggling to conceive naturally.
While the findings are still in their infancy and have not considered things like the long-term effects of chronic prostatitis, they reveal scary numbers for men who do have acute inflammatory infections. According to the article, 10% of patients were found to have no sperm in the ejaculate.