An area of special interest and experience at BodaHealth is reproductive health, which includes male fertility issues. Male infertility can manifest in a number of ways, most of which are directly related to the number and quality of sperm. Here’s how:
- A low concentration of sperm, also known as a low sperm count
- Motility problems. Your sperm are comprised of a head, which carries DNA material, and a tail which moves the ejaculated sperm through the vagina towards fertilization with an egg. Weak motility means that the sperm has a diminished ability to move to the site of fertilization.
- Morphology is the shape of your sperm. The head and tail of your sperm needs to be shaped in a way that it can dissolve the outer surface of an egg for fertilization.
- DNA fragmentation, is a genetic deterioration of the sperm that can cause infertility. It can occur in men of all ages, but tends to be more frequent with advancing age.
Male infertility is a factor in up to half of all incidences of infertility. Over the past several decades researchers have found that men’s sperm counts have dropped significantly. While researchers haven’t pinpointed a single clear reason for this, there are several common underlying causes that can impact male fertility, including:
- Excessive heat, hot tubs, or synthetic underwear all raise the temperature of your testicles and can affect sperm production.
- What you’re wearing. Tight pants or underwear can also affect your sperm. This may be because the tight clothes are constricting or because they position your testicles too close to your body, which raises their temperature.
- Hormonal issues. Low levels of the hormones needed to produce sperm may be a cause of male infertility.
- A blockage between the testes and the penis can also cause fertility issues. Blockages can occur from scarring, infection, or a vasectomy.
- Alcohol may impact sperm production in a couple of ways. It can increase estrogen production by your liver, which can decrease sperm count. In addition, alcohol can actually act as a toxin to the sperm producing cells in your testicles.
- Exposure to chemicals or toxins. While there are a number of substances that are under investigation, the research isn’t definitive on the exact impact on sperm health. That said, phthalates found in fragrances, pesticides, and estrogens found in your water are suspected to have an impact on sperm production and fertility.
- Certain medications, such as cytotoxic agents (chemotherapy), opioids, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants can affect sperm count and quality.
- Smoking. Research has documented that smokers have reduced fertility verses non-smokers, in the form of reduced sperm movement and health.
- Sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and low libido all have the ability to negatively impact male fertility.
- Sexual frequency. Having intercourse too often or not often enough can affect the number and quality of your sperm.
- Your overall health. Health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic illnesses, injuries, stress, obesity, poor sleep quality, and hormonal problems all have the ability to impact your sperm production and quality.
- Your age can also play a role in the viability of your sperm. It has become more and more common to wait to have children, but this may have a downside when it comes to male factor fertility. Research has shown that after the age 35 of, declining sperm quality can become a factor not only in ability to conceive, but increasing the risk for miscarriage.
Treating Male Infertility at BodaHealth
At BodaHealth, our acupuncturists and naturopathic doctors have specialized training and years of clinical experience working with men who are having fertility issues. Our goals are threefold: to increase sperm production, to improve sperm quality, and to enhance sexual vitality. At BodaHealth we are able to help with male fertility issues in a number of ways.
Our intake process is thorough. We’ll conduct a health history along with an analysis of your lifestyle and diet. When appropriate, our naturopathic doctors can evaluate your sperm parameters. After we have all relevant information, we’ll develop a treatment strategy that is best suited for your individual needs.
Research has documented that Acupuncture plays a role in treating cases of male infertility, and will likely be a part of your treatment plan at BodaHealth. Scientists have found that sperm motility, morphology, fertilization rate, and embryo quality is improved in assisted reproductive treatments (such as IVF) when men have been treated with acupuncture. In addition, acupuncture is an effective way to reduce stress, which can be a factor in both men’s and women’s infertility.
Our naturopathic doctors can assess nutrient deficiencies, antioxidant status, digestive issues, testosterone levels, and any toxic substances or heavy metals that may be playing a role in your fertility. We may prescribe supplementation in the form of vitamins, nutrients, or herbs, as well as make dietary suggestions that can enhance your health and fertility status.
There are a number of herbs and herbal formulas that can help improve fertility outcomes. Our practitioners of Chinese medicine are able to prescribe the appropriate combination of herbs based on your history and diagnosis. As your health changes, we will reassess and modify the herbs as needed.
It’s also important to know that there are lifestyle changes that you can make that may help improve your fertility. They include staying well-hydrated, eating a healthy diet (BodaHealth practitioners can help you here), avoid tight clothing and overheating your testicles, and reducing or eliminating your use of alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs.
When it comes to male fertility, the solution is often a combination of factors. At BodaHealth, we are able to assess these factors and offer a wide variety of treatment options. Our practitioners and staff are caring and understand how best to help you. Give us a call today.