Male infertility occurs when a man finds it difficult to make a woman pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse; this condition is stressful and frustrating and even pushes some men into depression and suicidal behavior.
7% of males are infertile and male infertility accounts for 40 to 50% of infertility among couples. The process of male fertility is very complex; for a man to get a woman pregnant, he must produce healthy sperm.
At least one of the testicles must be functioning properly; you must have a healthy level of the hormone testosterone and other hormones which trigger and maintain the production of sperm.
After production of sperm in the testicles, the sperm must be carried into the semen; they are transported through delicate tubes until they mix with the semen and from there they are ejaculated out of the penis. There also need to be enough sperm in the semen; if the sperm count is low, fertility will be difficult as it will be unable to fertilize an egg.
The sperm must also be functional and able to move; if the sperm has abnormal motility, that is another cause of infertility. They will not be able to move to meet the egg or they will find it difficult to penetrate the egg. There are a number of things that can cause this condition, when the cause is known, treatment is easy.
Causes of male infertility
Many things can be responsible as to why a man is infertile, so some of the causes are:
- Low production of sperm
- Blockages that affect or prevent the delivery of sperm
- Hormonal imbalance
- Dilated veins around the testicles
- Medical conditions that affects the production or passage of sperm and they include varicocele, infection, ejaculation issues, antibodies that attacks sperm mistakenly, tumors and cancers, undescended testicles, hormonal imbalance, defects in tubes that transport sperm, hereditary and chromosomal defects, problems with sexual intercourse, celiac disease, certain medications and prior surgeries.
- Exposure to industrial chemicals like toluene, xylene, benzenes, pesticides, herbicides, phthalates, triclosan, organic solvents, painting material and heavy metals can affect sperm count negatively.
- Chronic health problems
- Frequent exposure to radiations or x-rays can reduce the production of sperm; it can be reversed and return to normal when the dosage is low but high doses of radiation can lead to permanent low production of sperm.
- Unhealthy lifestyles like smoking, drinking and unhealthy meals. Cigarettes and other tobacco products lead to low sperm count; so it is advisable to quit smoking and for those who don’t smoke, avoid exposing yourself to second hand smoke because it can lead to low sperm count too. Illicit drugs shrink the testicles and reduce the production of sperm; it can also reduce the quality of sperm as well. Heaving drinking can cause hormonal imbalance; it reduces the levels of testosterone, it decreases the production of sperm and weakens erection. It can also cause liver disease which can lead to fertility problems.
- Avoid regular use of ibuprofen; it causes infertility. There are many studies on ground to prove that. Go for natural painkillers and avoid lifestyles, bad diet or stress that increases pains, headaches and makes one depend on painkillers.
- Physical, mental and emotional stress can cause male infertility by interfering with the hormones needed for the production of sperm. Severe or prolonged emotional stress can also lead to low sperm count.
- Obesity can lead to infertility by affecting the production of sperm and by leading to hormonal changes and abnormalities.
- High temperature around the testicles can affect normal production of sperm; it can also affect the function of sperm, frequent use of sauna or hot tube can temporary reduce sperm count. Other activities that can increase the temperature around that area are sitting for long period, working on a laptop computer for long period of time and with it on your laps, and wearing tight clothing. All these can increase the temperature of the scrotum and slightly reduce the production of sperm.
Symptoms of male infertility
The main symptom of male infertility is the inability to impregnate a woman; there can be other signs and symptoms which can be obvious or hidden, and some of them are:
- difficulty ejaculating or little volume of fluid released during ejaculation
- Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
- Reduced sexual desire or sexual urge
- Abnormal growth of breast
- Inability to smell
- Pin, swelling or lumps in the area around the testicles
How to prevent male infertility?
Male infertility can be prevented by avoiding the risk factors and by adopting a healthy lifestyle; though some male infertility cannot be prevented. To avoid or prevent male infertility, one has to:
- Quit smoking or exposing self to second hand smoke
- Limit or abstain from heavy drinking
- Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals, heavy metals, harmful chemicals and other toxins.
- Reduces stress
- Avoid a promiscuous lifestyle to avoid sexually transmitted diseases that can cause infertility
- Avoid illicit drugs
- Avoid long and frequent hot baths, hot tubs or saunas
- Keep weight in check and try to get and maintain a healthy weight
- Do not get a vasectomy
- Wear lose fitting underwear
- Practice good personal hygiene
- Avoid doing or using things that increase the temperature around the testicles
- Eat healthy foods always
Natural remedies for male infertility
Medically, treatments for male infertility includes surgeries, treating infections with the use of antibiotics, treating erection problems, treating hormonal problems using medications and the use of assisted reproductive technology.
There are also alternative means of treatment that are very effective and shows results and that is what we will be looking at. Natural remedies for male infertility include:
Zinc: This one of the most important trace mineral for fertility; it boosts the production of sperm, improves the form, function, quality and quantity of sperm. It is an effective remedy against male infertility. Rich natural sources of zinc are sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, turkey, peas, calf liver, oysters, beef, lamb, venison, yogurt, shrimps, etc.
Tribulus: This powerful herb helps in the production of sex hormones; it increases luteinizing hormone, DHEA and testosterone in men. It treats erectile dysfunction, low sperm count and poor sperm health caused by hormonal imbalance.
American ginseng root: This boost and support a healthy sex drive; it increase sexual urge and desire in men lacking it, it treats erectile dysfunction and enhance sexual performance in men. It treats hormonal imbalance and strengthens the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, it also reduces stress and improves the functions of the immune system.
Yohimbe bark: The bark of this tree increases the circulation of blood to the reproductive organs; it treats erectile dysfunction and help men get and maintain a strong erection. The increase circulation of blood also increases sexual libido.
Selenium: This trace mineral helps in the production of sperm; studies have linked low levels of selenium with low production of sperm. Rich sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, liver, snapped, cod, tuna, salmon, halibut, sardines, turkeys and shrimps.
Panax ginseng: Also known as Korean ginseng; it relieves stress which is a major cause of infertility. It also increases the levels of testosterone, sperm count and mobility.
Ashwangandha root: This powerful herb is used in treating hormonal imbalance; it supports healthy functions of the endocrine system, treats low sperm count and improve sex drive.
Garlic: This is a natural aphrodisiac; it increases the production of sperm, its active compound Allicin preserves sperm and boosts its endurance and it also improves the circulation of blood. Garlic is also rich in selenium which helps in improving the motility of sperm.
CoQ10: This is an important supplement; it is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells of the body from damage and oxidation. It improves the motility of sperm in semen and it improves the overall health of sperm. Rich sources of co-enzyme Q10 are organic meats, sea foods and supplements.
Moderate exercise: This boosts healthy production of sperm; a sedentary lifestyle is one of the risk factors of infertility, it reduces the quality of semen and declines the production of sperm. Moderate exercise of 15 hours in a week increases the quality of sperm and its production. Avoid strenuous exercise and overexertion; it can decrease sperm count and increase pressure and temperature around the scrotum.
Horny goat weed: This is an effective natural aphrodisiac; it increases sexual desire and performance, lcariin its active ingredient increases the circulation of blood to the extremities of the body and this help in getting and maintaining an erection.
Damiana: This herb is effective against low sperm count; it is used to increase the production of sperm, it relieves stress and exhaustion, calms the nerves and relaxes the muscles.
Vitamin E: This vitamin helps in improving sperm health and motility; a deficiency of this vitamin leads to infertility, it also protects the integrity of the DNA in sperm and egg. Rich sources of vitamin E are sunflower seeds, dark green vegetables, almonds, olives, papaya and spinach.
Green tea: This is rich in antioxidants that boost fertility; it is also rich in epigallocatechin which improves the quality of sperm. Take at least two cups of green tea a day.
Fo-ti: This Chinese herb is used in treating low libido, low sperm count, poor motility of sperm and erectile dysfunction and it supports fertile longevity.
Sleep properly: Insomnia and unnatural sleep patterns have been linked with male infertility; it lowers fertility drastically. Insomnia reduces sperm count and research stated that those who have sleeping disorder have smaller testicles. Make sure you get not less than 8 hours of night sleep as an adult and try treating insomnia if you have difficulty falling asleep.
Folate: This B vitamin helps in boosting sperm health; deficiency in this vitamin has been linked with production of unhealthy sperm that contains too little or too many chromosomes. If this type of sperm fertilizes an egg, it can result in sperm defects like downs syndrome or it can even lead to miscarriage. Rich sources of folate are lentils, liver, pinto beans, asparagus, spinach, garbanzo beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans and collard greens.
Control your weight: Studies prove that overweight and obese men produce low quality sperm; being underweight also have the same effect, therefore it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Moderate exercise, healthy diet and quality hydration help one achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Ginkgo leaves: This is the number one natural remedy for erectile dysfunction; it increases the circulation of blood to the reproductive organs, it is rich in antioxidants and it supports healthy sperm.
Astragalus: This powerful Chinese herb helps in improving the motility of sperm.
Cobalamin: Also known as vitamin B12; this vitamin is needed for cellular replication and a deficiency of this vitamin in males leads to low sperm count. Rich sources of this vitamin are clams, oysters, muscles, liver, fish eggs, fish, crabs, lobsters, cheese, eggs, beef and lamb. Supplements are given to men with sperm count less than 20 million or have a mortality rate of less than 50%.
Flaxseed oil: This is rich in omeg-3 fatty acids and essential acids which help in promoting healthy sperm. This oil stimulates the flow of blood and fights impotence; it increases sperm count and motility, it also makes the prostate healthy. Avoid this oil if you have high blood pressure and diabetes and do not take too much of it as it can result in intestinal blockages.
Goji berries: These are effective in protecting sperm from overheating also known as hyperthermia; it helps to preserve sperm, its rich content of antioxidants help in improving the quantity and quality of sperm. It also support healthy levels of hormones in the body and improve the functions of the liver.
Asafetida: This is an effective natural remedy for premature ejaculation.
Vitamin C: This vitamin helps in protecting the sperm from damage and it also improve its quality. It prevents chromosomal problems and reduces the chances of miscarriage; it makes sperm more motile by preventing them from clumping together. Rich sources of ascorbic acid are plant foods, fruits especially citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli, cranberries, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes and green vegetables.
Shilajit: This sticky resin is gotten from the Himalayan Mountains; it is rich in over 85 minerals, vitamins and it also contains good amount of Fulvic acid, all these nutrients improves the functions and health of the genitourinary system. It improves the circulation of blood; increases sexual energy and reverse male infertility.
Maca root: It helps to increase libido; it also increases seminal volume and sperm count. It increases the motility of sperm and promotes healthy functions of sperm.
Fenugreek: It improves sperm count and prevents poor sperm health; it also improves the quality of sperm.
L-carnitine: This supplement promotes the normal functions of sperm; sperm require high concentration of carnitine for energy metabolism, it also increases sperm count and motility. Low levels of carnitine leads to low sperm count. Rich sources are organic dairy and dairy products and red meat; taking the supplement for 4 months helps to increase sperm count and motility, to make it more effective, you can add co enzyme Q10 supplements.
Vitamin D: Studies have linked deficiency of this vitamin with low sperm count; this vitamin along with calcium improves the overall health of sperm.
Saw palmetto berries: This is an effective treatment against male impotence, low libido, testicular atrophy and it also improves prostate health.
Antioxidants: These help in boosting healthy fertility; they protect the sperm from oxidative damage by free radicals; they also prevent birth defects, miscarriages, or developmental problems for the baby. They also prevent oxidative stress which can lead to infertility; rich sources of antioxidant are dark green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables and fresh fruits.
Schisandra: This is an important herb that supports and protects the liver; it also balances hormones, it support healthy functions of the endocrine and nervous system and improves immune functions. It increases sperm count and relieves stress which is a cause of infertility.
Please do not combine any of these herbs or supplements with medication drugs without the consent of your doctor or a licensed herbalist. They should be taken when it is certified safe for you or when you are not on any medication and when you don’t have any underlying medical condition.
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