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Dec 5, 2015 — by Larry Lipshultz

A couple looking at a pregnancy testPeople in and around Houston know that when they have a men's health issue, they can rely on Dr. Larry Lipshultz. He is a skilled urologist and male fertility treatment specialist who takes great pride in his work and in helping patients achieve wellness.

When it comes to addressing male infertility, some patients experience issues with the overall volume of their ejaculate and its quality. With that in mind, let's consider the nature of ejaculatory duct obstructions and what can be done about them.

About Ejaculatory Duct Obstructions (EDO)

An ejaculatory duct obstruction refers to cases in which one or both of the ejaculatory ducts is blocked. When the ejaculatory ducts are blocked in some way, this can result in low semen volume, low sperm count, and a much lower likelihood of conceiving a child through natural means. Blocked ejaculatory ducts cause aspermia (lack of semen during ejaculation) or azoospermia (lack of sperm in the semen during ejaculation).

It's estimated that ejaculatory duct obstructions make up about 1 percent to 5 percent of all cases of male infertility.

Types of Ejaculatory Duct Obstructions (EDO)

There are different forms of ejaculatory duct obstruction. They are as follows:

  • Complete/Classic EDO – Complete obstruction of the ejaculatory ducts resulting in low sperm or semen volume.

  • Incomplete/Partial EDO – Blockage of just one of the ejaculatory ducts resulting in lower ejaculate volume and lower semen volume.

  • Functional EDO – Similar to classic EDO, but there is no evidence of a physical blockage present.

Causes of Ejaculatory Duct Obstructions (EDO)

Ejaculatory duct obstruction may be the result of genetics, or it may be caused by injury and inflammation. Yet in many cases, the exact cause of the ejaculatory duct obstruction is unknown.

Signs and Symptoms of Ejaculatory Duct Obstructions (EDO)

The most common signs and symptoms of ejaculatory duct obstruction are difficulty conceiving and issues with pelvic pain. In some cases, men may notice pain while having intercourse and even blood in their ejaculate. When patients notice pain or blood associated with ejaculation, this is a good indication that medical help is necessary.

Diagnosing Ejaculatory Duct Obstructions (EDO)

Diagnosis of ejaculatory duct obstruction will involve a combination of patient discussions, semen analysis, and diagnostic imaging technology. The semen analysis will be especially important as the composition of the semen and its contents will help determine where the obstruction occurs and the nature of the issue.

Treatments for Ejaculatory Duct Obstructions (EDO)

In terms of addressing the blockage directly, one option to consider, is transurethral resection of the ejaculatory ducts (TURED). This procedure is effective in approximately 20 percent of men who are affected by ejaculatory duct obstruction.

When the sperm production and quality is unaffected by a case of ejaculatory duct obstruction, the best option for men to consider if they'd prefer to avoid surgery is sperm extraction, which removes sperm directly from the testicles to be used in an assisted reproduction procedure such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Contact Dr. Larry Lipshultz

To learn more about your treatment options for various types of male infertility issues, we encourage you to contact our urology and men's health center today. Dr. Larry Lipshultz will work with you to improve your health and wellness and help you with your men's health problems.