Women are not the only ones responsible for taking care of their overall health in expectation of a successful pregnancy. A woman’s reproductive organs may be fully functioning, but if the male’s sperm is not healthy, fertilization can be very difficult.
It’s not always easy to face the fact that something may not be working properly in our systems, however, it is not uncommon. Don’t lose faith, there are a number of easy adjustments a man can make to increase his sperms’ performance.
The first step to increase fertility in men is to understand what the sperm must go through to achieve fertilization. The male’s reproductive system produces sperm and testosterone inside of his testicles. Once the sperm is ejaculated it then needs to swim through the cervix and uterus and up into the fallopian tubes. In order for sperm to be healthy swimmers, the man has to be healthy as well. Adding a few positive habits and cutting back on the more poisonous ones can make a world of difference.
What To Add to Increase Fertility in Men
Studies show that men who exercise regularly tend to have a higher sperm count than those who don’t. Research done at Harvard University showed that, “men who exercised for 15 or more hours weekly at a moderate to vigorous rate had a 73% higher sperm count than those who exercised less than 5 hours per week.’ However, you don’t want to overdo it. Overstraining your body can have the opposite effect, so be sure to use your best judgement.
Change in Diet
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and other foods that are high in antioxidants have a history of helping to improve your sperm health. Professor Leigh Simmons from The University of Western Australia found in a study that, “highly reactive molecules, known as free radicals, were waste products of the cellular processes that fuel the body’s activities. These free radicals damage cells if they are not neutralized by antioxidants.” In other words, your sperm could be attacked and seriously damaged by the free radicals. One easy way to get a few more antioxidants is to take a daily multivitamin.
There has been some speculation as to whether lubricants have a negative effect on fertility. Yet, going the all natural route will keep you confident that you’re in the safe zone. There are many organic options out there (Sustain Organic, Good Clean Love, Sylk Natural, Blossom Organics, etc). Just be sure you are always reading ingredient lists and are aware of what you are putting inside your body.
As intangible as it may seem to you, stress is one of the leading causes of dysfunction in the body. It has the potential to disrupt the hormones needed to produce sperm. Stress hormones such as catecholamines have been found to decline with regular meditation or other relaxation practices. There are many other methods one can practice to relieve stress. Exercising in the morning, focusing on your breath during high levels of anxiety, and taking baths before bedtime aid in better sleep habits and less stress during the day.
What To Lose to Increase Fertility in Men
Research shows smoking causes a reduced sperm count, slower sperm movement, and abnormally shaped sperm. A study in Argentina showed evidence that men with smoking and drinking habits, compared to men without them, showed lower quality sperm concentration and volume. It has also been found that chemicals in tobacco smoke may ‘lower the chance of a healthy pregnancy and effect your child’s future health.’
Alcohol affects sperm negatively just as it would affect a baby growing in the womb. It can cause impotency, reduce sex drive, and overall quality of the sperm.
Replacement testosterone, steroids, chemotherapy, anti fungal medications, and treatment for ulcers have been known to negatively affect the sperm. Men hoping to have children should talk to their doctor before beginning any new medications. Men taking replacement testosterone drugs can end up with low sperm concentration and even sometimes with no sperm in the semen at all. However, by not continuing to take the drug, these results can be reversed in as little as 6 months.
High heat exposure
Exposing testicles to high heat can be harmful to sperm production and overall function. Males who are currently trying to conceive are advised to avoid excessive use of saunas and hot tubs as they can harm your sperm count.
When To Seek Help
If a couple has been trying to get pregnant for a year with no success (and 6 months if you’re over 35), it is time to see a specialist. The hard truth is that for many, these steps to increase fertility in men are often not enough, especially if there is a more serious issue going on such as if the man has a testicular disease, a problem in the pituitary gland, or a sperm transport disorder.
If you have been trying for a while without result, it’s time to have a specialist take a look at what’s going on. A fertility specialist can test a man’s sperm for health and motility. They may also refer you for further treatment at either a urologist (specializing in kidneys, urinary tract, bladder, and male reproductive organs) or an andrologist (specializing in biochemistry, endocrinology, or physiology).
The important thing is to get to the bottom of what is going on. The sooner you have a handle on what is going on with your body, the closer you will be to conceiving a child.
There is a lot that goes into fertility so you should never hesitate to reach out to your doctor with any questions or concerns that you may have. Also, check out our latest eBook, The Simplified Guide to the Complicated World of Infertility if you still have some lingering questions about the basics. And remember, we’re always here to help!