Male fertility plays a vital role in the process of making a baby. All too often this role goes unchecked. Fortunately, there are many things that can help increase a man’s reproductive health. At Sage Acupuncture we are here to help you navigate this journey.
The odds that a male sperm ever survives long enough to reach and fertilize an egg are small. Yes, it only takes one sperm to do the deed, yet on average, a man ejaculates just a teaspoonful of semen, containing roughly 100 to 300 million sperm. This sounds like a lot, but fewer than 100,000 make their way through a woman’s cervix, then only a couple hundred survive the trip up the fallopian tubes and fewer still have the chance of penetrating and fertilizing an egg. This is a monumental task, so having strong mobile sperm is vital.
Females are born with all the eggs they will ever have while males start producing sperm at puberty and steering clear of any complications, will continue to produce sperm throughout their lives. The average lifespan of a sperm cell is 72 days to 3 months. That’s significant because when called to action you want an adequate and vigorous supply of healthy sperm.
There are genetic, environmental, and emotional reasons for the health of the male reproductive system to be poor. A semen analysis will give you a picture in time of sperm health, including: count, motility and morphology (the shape of your sperm).
Some genetic causes for a poor sperm analysis include, hormonal imbalance, dilated veins in the scrotum (varicoceles), blocked or missing sperm ducts (vas deferens), testes failing to descend into the scrotum (cryptorchidism) and abnormal seminal fluid that can inhibit motility.
Smoking and drinking are among the most common environmental factors effecting sperm health. Studies show smokers can suffer close to a 25 percent reduction in sperm concentration and more than 10 percent decline in sperm motility. Excess alcohol and recreational drugs, like cocaine and marijuana, can contribute to erectile dysfunction and adversely effect the production of hormones that create sperm. Prescriptions like high blood pressure medications and steroids should be considered as culprits in poor sperm health as well. Sperm “don’t like it hot,” they thrive in slightly cooler temperatures, which is why the male scrotum hangs away from the body. So long bike rides or hot tub soaks can wreak havoc on sperm production and motility. Caution should be used with common household and workplace chemicals as well, as pesticides and solvents in our environment can adversely effect sperm production. Buy organic when you can to avoid the pesticides in foods.
Emotional and psychological stressors can also impact reproductive health, sexual performance and testosterone production required for spermatogenesis.
A healthy lifestyle including fertility focused nutrition, supplements and moderate exercise is critical to counterbalance stress and enhance fertility. More active males have better quality and more abundant sperm. Excess weight effects hormone production, leading to a low sperm count and increasing the odds of abnormal sperm. Yet, be mindful as you can overdo exercise as well diverting energy and oxygen enriched blood needed for reproductive health to recovery and repair of muscle tissue.
Acupuncture has been shown to support all aspects of male fertility. Read studies here…