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Int J Androl. 1993 Feb;16(1):1-13.

Infection in the male reproductive tract. Impact, diagnosis and treatment in relation to male infertility.

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Andrology Laboratory, National Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


The following are the conclusions that can be derived from a review of the literature regarding the role of infection in the aetiology of male infertility. (i) Temporary inflammatory episodes in the male reproductive tract which are self-limiting are probably common. (ii) Caution should be exercised in the use of leukospermia or bacteriospermia as parameters for glandular infection. (iii) There is a need for alternative techniques for detecting non-symptomatic deep pelvic infections in the male; one technique of great promise is rectal ultrasound. (iv) Rectal ultrasound indicates that a large number of men with poor sperm quality have a non-symptomatic, chronic prostatovesiculitis. (v) Increasing evidence implicates Chlamydia trachomatis as being a major cause of chronic non-bacterial prostatitis. (vi) An important aspect of chlamydial infections in men may be that the male accessory sex glands may function as reservoirs for the organism, increasing the probability of infection in the female. (vii) Ureaplasma urealyticum may also play an important aetiological role in male infertility but its significance is confounded by its acknowledged function as a commensal in the reproductive tract. (viii) One of the manifestations of male reproductive tract infection is the induction of sperm autoantibodies. (ix) There is a need for more systematic controlled studies of the effects of antibiotic treatment on sperm quality with different preparations for extended periods using patient groups in which a glandular infection has been verified, e.g. by rectal ultrasonography.

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