Author(s): Dohle GR
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Abstract A history of urogenital inflammation occurs in 5-12\% of men attending infertility clinics. Usually, infection has a detrimental effect on sperm quality by reducing concentration and motility, and possibly affecting the number of morphological normal spermatozoa. In addition, infection may be the source of auto-antibodies against spermatozoa, found in about 8\% of the infertile male population. In contrast to the situation in women, there is no clear evidence that male accessory gland infections can result in epididymal blockage or vassal obstruction, with the exception of genital tuberculosis. Although Chlamydia trachomatis is a well-documented source of chronic prostatitis, the infection does not seem to cause obstruction of the reproductive tract, as it does in women. If male urogenital infection causes obstruction it is most likely located at the level of the ejaculatory ducts. Chronic prostatitis has been proved to cause scarring of the prostatic and ejaculatory ducts, resulting in low seminal volume with low fructose and alpha-glucosidase. Many of these men present with severe oligozoospermia or azoospermia, normal size testis and normal gonadotrophins. We performed an excisional testicular biopsy in all men presenting with <1 million spermatozoa per millilitre and found that 39 of 78 (50\%) had a normal spermatogenesis. A history of male accessory genital infection was found in 12\% of the men and 10\% had abnormalities found on transrectal ultrasound of the prostate (like oedema, dilatation of the seminal vesicles and ejaculatory ducts) intraprostatic calcifications and dilatation of the periprostatic venous plexus. Ejaculatory duct obstruction is a common cause of male infertility and infections are present in at least 22-50\% of these men. Transurethral resection of the ejaculatory ducts may result in a significant improvement of the sperm quality and in spontaneous pregnancies in up to 25\% of the couples. In case of failure sperm aspiration from the epididymis and intracytoplasmic sperm injection is the treatment of choice.
This article was published in Andrologia
and referenced in Andrology-Open Access