New studies are finding that infertility in men may contribute to an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis. A scientific study conducted offers some explanation as to how the two medical conditions may be related.
What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder impacting the central nervous system of those affected. The immune system damages myelin (the substance that provides a protective coating for nerve fibers), which consequently results in communication difficulties between the afflicted individual’s brain and other parts of his or her body.
Symptoms vary in occurrence and intensity depending upon which part of the sufferer’s body is most impacted. Many people with multiple sclerosis will experience difficulty walking or moving impacted limbs. In severe instances, the afflicted might not be able to walk without assistance or are wheelchair dependent. Other manifestations can include numbness or tingling in the limbs or neck, vision problems, speech difficulties, tremors, bowel or bladder difficulties and dizziness. The malady has no established cure. However, treatment protocols exist that are designed to address specific symptoms.
A research study conducted found that men diagnosed with some form of what is referred to medically as Male Factor Infertility displayed a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
Male Factor Infertility
Male factor infertility categorizes the medically accepted reasons of which a male partner can contribute to a couple’s inability to conceive a child. These categories are divided into four subheadings:
Structural Abnormalities Within the Reproductive System
On occasion, obstructions located within the reproductive organs and/or pathways could inhibit the flow of sperm. Such abnormalities are often the result of birth defects or various types of diseases.
Sperm Production Issues
These difficulties cause the testes to produce a diminished amount of sperm and could be caused by any one or a combination of numerous sexual, reproductive and/or lifestyle problems.A diminished amount of healthy, well-motile sperm is the result of certain illnesses, negative lifestyle habits or a combination of both. In addition to old age, infections, environmental toxins, the consumption of alcohol and nicotine as well as hypertension and diabetes may be responsible for a disturbed sperm production.
The ejaculation of semen into a female is required to begin the process of conception. Some men are afflicted with a condition such as impotence, which inhibits their ability to ejaculate and sometimes makes even garnering an erection quite challenging.
Men stricken with various immune system ailments experience infertility problems because these conditions often interfere with the sperm’s ability to penetrate a female’s ovum (eggs).
How Male Factor Infertility and MS are Related
A 2017 study conducted by Danish scientists examined over 50,000 men whose partners had been treated for fertility issues over a timeframe ranging from 1994 to 2015. The researchers found that more than 24,000 of the men examined tested positively for male factor infertility. In addition, the vast majority of these men were discovered to either be at higher risk for developing or had already developed multiple sclerosis versus the 27,000 or so men who did not test positively for male factor infertility. The researchers stress that this study does not provide conclusive evidence linking male factor infertility directly to multiple sclerosis, but establishes a connection between the two conditions that should warrant further and deeper investigation.
In addition, while infertility issues in men were found to be associated with a risk factor to MS, MS is respectively found as a possible cause of male infertility. Among the major conditions contributing to symptoms of male infertility such as erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction and semen abnormalities are pelvic and retroperitoneal surgery, diabetes, congenital spinal abnormalities, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.