How To Increase Low Sperm Count and Improve Male Fertility
In couples who are trying to conceive, but fail after a year or more of trying, many people automatically assume that it’s due to a female reproductive issue. However, the truth is that both partners need to be in good shape when it comes to their fertility as male infertility can play a large part.
One of the biggest issues when talking about male infertility is that while there are many tests available to determine the status of female fertility, there are limited tests available for men. However, one of the more common tests is a semen analysis to determine the health of the male’s sperm.
Tests and What You Should be Looking For
So, if you have been trying to conceive for some time and have not been successful, it’s always a good idea for both partners to get tested.
The good news is that there are many at-home sperm count tests available. If you need help determining which one may work best for you, your doctor can help you with a full sperm analysis test.
A complete semen analysis performed by your doctor should show :
- Motility: Motility will look at the whip of the tail, movement of the sperm, which is an important part of the sperm being able to navigate and fertilize the egg.
- Morphology:This looks at the size and shape of the sperm.
- Count:When looking at sperm count, keep in mind that 20 million sperm per mL or more is a healthy sperm count. Less than that is considered a low sperm count. There are at-home sperm tests kits that can look at sperm count as well.
Causes of Male Infertility
While the causes of female infertility are talked about quite often, that’s not always the case with male infertility. However, it’s an important topic to talk about, especially among couples who have been having a hard time getting pregnant naturally.
Many of the risk factors and causes of infertility in men are connected, so male infertility could be caused by more than one thing.
Some common causes of male infertility include: (1)
- Abnormal sperm production
- Abnormal sperm function
- Premature ejaculation
- Blockage in the testicle
- Overexposure to environmental chemicals
Another big cause of male infertility happens to be hormonal imbalances. Some of the commonly seen imbalanced include DHEA, testosterone, prolactin, and estrogen. Getting a hormonal lab panel done is always a good idea to take a look at where your hormones currently stand.
But, what causes hormone imbalances in men? There are a variety of factors, including:
- Stress: Stress can affect sperm production, so you want to take stress management seriously.
- Soy Food Consumption: Processed soy foods contain isoflavones which is a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens have been shown to block estrogen receptor sites which are needed for testosterone.
- Poor Lifestyle Habits: Poor lifestyle habits like alcohol consumption or cigarette smoking has been linked to male infertility. (2)
- Plastic: We all should be avoiding plastic, and it may be playing a larger role in your fertility than you may think. Plastic is known to release xenohormones which have an estrogenic effect on the body and can cause hormonal imbalances.
- Temperature: Temperature plays a big part in fertility as healthy sperm is generally at a lower level than body temperature. Heat damages sperm, so you will want to avoid activities that would negatively impact the health of your sperm, such as warm baths.
- EMF’s: Also known as electromagnetic frequencies that come from your phone and laptop. These are best kept away from your lap, as they have been linked to disrupted endocrine hormones. (3)
How to Increase Sperm Count and Male Fertility
How Chinese Medicine Can Help with Male Infertility
According to Chinese Medicine, the common causes of male infertility include Kidney asthenia (weakness), Liver Qi stagnation, blockage of meridians due to phlegm and dampness, as well as deficiency in Qi and Blood, and Blood stasis. (5)
The bottom line is that treatment for male infertility is limited in western medicine. Chinese medicine on the other hand, can offer remedies to help boost sperm count, improve morphology, motility and liquefaction. Research studies show that both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine affect hormone levels and testicular blood flow, thus promoting the production of healthy sperm.
Chinese medicine can help improve the physiological integrity of sperm membranes. Here are some of the specific ways TCM may be able to help support male fertility.
Acupuncture can help you kick start your reproductive system and improve your overall health. Acupuncture has been shown to improve both sperm quality and quantity when carried out regularly over several weeks.
Natural Chinese Herbs Popular in Treating Male Infertility
Most of these herbs are adaptogens, which help to nourish the endocrine system, so all of the hormones are working properly.
- Dong Quai – Dong Quai is great antioxidants, containing ferulic acid, this herb improves sperm quality and viability.
- Tao Ren (Peach Kernel) – improves blood circulation promoting blood nutrition level helping improve male fertility
- Hong Hua (Safflower) – Hong Hua, which is warm in nature nourishes the blood level and moves the improves the sperm quality
- Goji Berries: Goji berries protect sperm from overheating and improves sperm quality and quantity as it is high in antioxidants. Find out how Goji beriies can improve fertility in men and women here.
Foods to Improve Male Fertility
The good news is that TCM may be able to help improve male fertility, and the first place to start is with diet.
- Zinc: Eat food high in zinc to help boost sperm levels. Some great food choices include oysters, beef, lamb, venison, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, turkey, peas, and shrimp.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E can help improve sperm health and motility in men. Some great vitamin E rich foods include sunflower seeds, almonds, and avocados.
- Selenium: Selenium helps with the creation of sperm. Try enjoying foods like brazil nuts, liver, snapper, cod, halibut, tuna, salmon, sardines, shrimp, and turkey.
- Antioxidants: Oxidative stress can directly impact male fertility, which is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants have been linked to improved sperm movement as well as sperm concentration. (4) Try adding lots of berries to your diet as well as apples, kale, and 70% or darker unsweetened dark chocolate.
While diet plays a huge part, it’s important to know that it can take about 2-3 months for diet, herbs, and supplements to have an effect on sperm health, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t have success immediately.
The Bottom Line
If you and your partner have been trying to conceive and have not been successful, it’s important to look at both partners reproductive health. We have to pay more attention to looking at both the male and female to better understand who’s reproductive health could use a little boost. With both the man and woman focusing on TCM to help improve their overall fertility health, it may make conception that much more possible.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.