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A window into men's infertility

March 24, 2010 5:05:30 PM PDT
A window into men's infertility. How it may be a symptom of bigger health concerns.

Most people, including members of the medical community, think of male infertility as an unfortunate, but benign condition. But what if it is really an early warning sign of future health problems? It is well known that 1-10 percent of infertile men have an underlying, potentially life-threatening reason for infertility.

Dr. Paul Turek, a pioneer in men's reproductive health, has also published research in large populations of infertile men showing that they are three times more likely to have testicular cancer later in life. His most recent research indicates that there is also a link between male infertility and the later development of prostate cancer.

Here are a few frequently asked questions:

Who should get evaluated?

All men in relationships, in which there is a failure to conceive after a year of trying, should undergo an infertility evaluation. This evaluation can help detect the reason for infertility, help cure it and also evaluate men for their risk of other medical conditions in the future.

What can a man expect at the evaluation?

Most men who fail to conceive eventually get a semen analysis done. The risk of testis cancer and prostate cancer appears to be related to having low or no sperm counts when a man is younger.

A proper male evaluation also includes a detailed personal history that reviews medical issues, family medical issues, social habits and occupational exposures. For example, a history of surgery for an undescended testis puts a patient at higher risk for the later development of testis cancer.

In addition, a brief physical examination of the genitalia can reveal subtle but important abnormalities. In many men, this includes a prostate examination.

Finally, a blood test that examines male hormones can reveal problems with testosterone production that has serious implications for future health.

Why is self-exam is important?

Given the higher rates of testis cancer among infertile men, men can be proactive about this issue and perform monthly testicular self-examinations. At the end of a hot shower, when the genitalia are relaxed, lightly feeling each testis for smooth contour and the absence of any lumps or bumps is undertaken.

Importantly, the main goal of self-examination is not to necessarily find a small "cancer" but simply to detect a difference from the last examination. A medical provider can then confirm or not that the difference is a real one and merits further evaluation.

For More Information, go to www.theturekclinic.com


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