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Male infertility

On this page

  1. Overview
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. Treatment
  5. Food
  6. Self-care

1. Overview

A lot of men now have fertility issues. Male sperm quality had been decreasing for 70 years. This decrease is largely due to the exposure of men to chemicals, heat and electromagnetic waves. Both motility and morphology have been declining affecting reproductive health of men.

Male partner infertility is a lot simpler when compared to female infertility. There are fewer hormones involved and therefore fewer that need to be harmonised in order for fertility to be optimal. The sperm is essentially a head and a tail. It can either have movement problems (motility) or structural problems (morphology) or there aren't enough of them.

2. Symptoms

The parameters for a semen sample are set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and are constantly being reviewed. Some countries use the old parameters and some the new. According to the latest report (fifth version), a normal semen sample should be:

  • Semen volume: more than 1.5mL
  • Sperm count: more than 39 million in total
  • Sperm concentration: more than 15 million per ml
  • Sperm motility (movement): more than 32 per cent moving
  • Sperm morphology (shape): more than 4 per cent of normal shape
  • Vitality (live sperm): more than 58 per cent
  • White blood cells: less than 1 million per ml
  • Anti-sperm antibodies test: should be negative

3. Causes

Clinical studies have confirmed that chronic consumption of alcohol and nicotine causes a decline in testosterone levels, a decreased sperm count and sperm maturation, leading to male infertility.

About half a billion sperm are produced each day. The production of sperm in the testes takes around 70 days in total. Low levels of FSH, LH and testosterone can reduce sperm production. Injections of these hormones can be given to increase sperm production.

The testicles are outside of a man's body to keep them a few degrees cooler for optimal sperm production. If the testicles become too warm, it will harm sperm production with the likelihood of the sperm test showing problems with motility.

Sperm concentration are contained within seminal fluid, which is a liquid; it's therefore affected by temperature. Excessive heat in the testicles is like a platoon of soldiers trying to march through a dessert without any water. They suffer from heat exhaustion and will stumble around in a dehydrated daze.

Exposure to chemicals such as PFCs and electromagnetic waves can decrease sperm count.

4. Treatment

Acupuncture for male infertility

There have been several research studies which suggest that acupuncture improves sperm quality, erectile dysfunction and sperm motility.

In this research, the acupuncture group that received acupuncture had significantly improved semen analysis. Infertile men had improves sperm quality, increases a low sperm count, increase testosterone levels, increase blood flow to the testicles and treat unexplained male infertility.

Chinese herbs for male fertility

Research has shown certain Chinese herbal formulas, such as Yi Jing Tang can improve sperm quality in men with oligozoospermia.

6. Foods

Here are my food tips to improve male fertility:

  • Don't eat any chilli
  • Reduce alcohol drinking to just a few beers a week
  • Eat lots of fish
  • Reduce red meat consumption
  • Eat organic meat
  • Avoid coffee

7. Self-care tips

In order to improve male infertility, you should follow these health tips, which research has shown can significant increase sperm quality:

  • Don't smoke
  • Go to bed early, around 10pm
  • Don't exercise too much
  • Don't over work
  • Don't put a laptop on your lap
  • Don't wear tight fitting underwear
  • Don't spend too much time in the sauna or sun bathing

References

Cakmak, et al. (2008) Point- and frequency-specific response of the testicular artery to abdominal electroacupuncture in humans. Fertil Steril; 90: 1732–8.

Dieterle, et al. (2009) A prospective randomized placebo-controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia. Fertility and Sterility; 92: 1340-3.

Gurfinkel, et al. (2003) Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities. Asian Journal of Andrology; 5: 345-8.

He, et al. (2015) Acupuncture treatment of male infertility: a systematic review. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue, Jul;21(7):637-45.

Pei, et al. (2005) Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility. Fertility and Sterility; 84: 141-7.

Ren et al. (2016) Effects and mechanisms of acupuncture and moxibustion on reproductive endocrine function in male rats with partial androgen deficiency. Acupunct Med, 34:136-143 doi:10.1136/acupmed-2014-010734.

Sherman et al. (2000) Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count? A pilot study. Andrologia 32, 31-39.

Siterman, et al. (1997) Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from sub fertility related to low sperm quality. Arch Androl, 39(2):155-61, Sep-Oct (ISSN: 0148-5016).

Siterman, et al. (2001) Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count? A pilot study. Andrologia, 32: 31-9.

Siterman, et al. (2009) Success of acupuncture treatment in patients with initially low sperm output is associated with a decrease in scrotal skin temperature. Asian Journal of Andrology; 11: 200-8.

Mu, Y, et al. 2019. Effect on sperm quality of asthenospermia and oligospermia treated with grain-moxibustion combined with medicine therapy. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu; 12;39(8):843-8. doi: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.2019.08.012.

Allameh F, Razzaghi M, Hosseini S, Barati M, Razzaghi Z, Salehi S, Ghahestani SM, Shahabi V. The Effect of Laser Acupuncture on Semen Parameters in Infertile Men With Oligospermia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Lasers Med Sci. 2021 Dec 27;12:e84. doi: 10.34172/jlms.2021.84. PMID: 35155169; PMCID: PMC8837838.

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