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Male Factors in Infertility

infertility male Feb 14, 2020

Male fertility is something that we don’t talk about as often as female fertility and this is true for western medicine as well and alternative medicine. Often, because women have cycles, it is easier to look at and analyze what is out of sorts. Periods, ovulation cervical fluid are all visible ways we can see what’s happening. With men, it’s just not that easy there are several factors that cannot be detected without a test.

Most doctors in reproductive endocrinology offices or IVF clinics are ObGyn’s and have less experience with men’s specific issues.

Often the extent of the testing is to look at the morphology-shape, motility-movements of the sperm and the concentration of the overall count. If the numbers are poor or even subpar, physicians often suggest taking samples and isolating healthier specimens within a sample to utilize intra uterine insemination or invitro fertilization. The tests that can be performed by a urologist-specializing in male reproduction. They can look for specific aspects of the semen quality, fragmented segments of DNA within the semen and pH. Although urologists are now being consulted more often it is not the standard of care in most clinics.

But no one in western medicine typically thinks there are ways to improve the sperm but we in alternative medicine do just that.

We look at helping make the sperm stronger and healthier. In traditional Chinese medicine, we look at the root of the imbalance and work on improving the overall health of the patient and thus, in time improve the health of sperm and increase the concentration of healthy sperm.

How do you do that specifically?

Well, we work on supporting the kidney system, which rules fertility! Because men produce new sperm every two and a half to three months, it is important to work on the quality of sperm throughout the process of trying to conceive or better yet, prior.

So there is a lot of advice about how to improve your health in general that I am about to layout and it may not look like I am focusing on reproduction but I am because everything in your body is connected and depends on each other (like an ecosystem) to work properly.

First, it is important to look at diet, sleep, stress levels and healthy habits.

Specific foods should be added to your diet and nutritional supplements as well. There are also several categories of food that need to be cut out and avoided for improving your sperm health. I will say that these adjustments will improve your overall health, digestion and sleep too.

Next, we will look at lifestyle and sleep.

These will heal your system and allow for greater strength and vitality while trying to conceive.

Dietary recommendations are up first because it is one of the easiest areas we can adjust for the biggest impact on our health. It is important to add in omega fatty acids from cold water, fast-swimming fish such as anchovies, sardines, and salmon. Fresh fish a couple of times a week or take a high quality, a mercury-free supplement from a reputable company such as Nordic Naturals. Adding in flaxseed oil to salads, veggies or soups as a topping also is a great way to make sure you are getting more omegas. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best foods to add-in for male health improving the health of the prostate.

Adding in antioxidants as a supplement as well as foods such as fresh red/yellow/orange peppers, citrus especially pineapples and berries is another essential way to improve your fertility. Antioxidants fight off free radicals and help your body repair cells, boost immunity and reduce the number of sperm fragments or incomplete/unhealthy sperm.

To support the kidneys, we need to add in foods that are kidney-shaped like kidney beans, and beans in general, cashew nuts and especially walnuts. Walnuts are another superfood to build kidney energy and should be raw and stored in the fridge. Other foods that are important are shellfish, pork, eggs, tomatoes, green leafy, red, purple fresh veggies, and fruits ideally cooked vs raw. Nuts, seeds, and spices like lemon/limes, cilantro, green onions, chives and other aromatics like basil, rosemary and thyme.

Make sure you are hydrating properly too.

Drinking water, smoothies, tea-green is preferred and count your veggies and fruit as part of your daily intake. But it should be noted how important water is to make healthy sperm.

Let’s talk about foods that need to be cut out or reduced to support sperm health.

Some of these may not have occurred to you as areas of concern. All foods and drinks have a quality or temperature to and have different actions that occur in the body. These foods are categorized as hot/warm and producing dampness.

When we reduce foods in these categories because we know that they cause stagnation or lack of movement especially in the lower abdomen. That means feel the flow of energy and nutrients can move easily and support healthy formation, storage and ejaculation of semen and sperm. This is important for the quality and health of the genetic material.

Here are the foods to reduce and I will recommend alternatives to the number one thing I recommend for men to cut out.

Coffee and Alcohol.

These are by far the most often consumed and hottest things in our western diets. If you are having trouble conceiving or want the healthiest possible child-cut these back to a minimum.

The other area I advise eliminating is artificial sweeteners.

If this is a part of your diet, make this the priority over coffee and alcohol. Cut out one thing at a time - work on eliminating these chemicals - think about gum, mints and drinks. Alternatives to sugar-free sweeteners are: stevia, agave nectar, munk fruit and honey. Get as natural as you can.

Next, cut back on red meat.

Not because it’s unhealthy (in small amounts) but because it’s hot. The darker the meat the warmer it is going to be and that’s not a good thing for sperm. So, seafood, poultry, pork and legumes/beans are a better bet.

Avoid soy products too.

If you don’t do dairy and want a healthier alternative stick to almond, cashew or coconut milks and products.

If you are a congested person or feel like you need to lose weight, then I recommend less dairy overall as it tends to congest and reduce digestion thus not allowing nutrients to support repair of the body. If cutting out dairy seems too extreme, adjust and stick with yogurts, feta, goat milk cheeses, and other non-hard aged cheeses.

Next, we want to look at your sleep both quality and quantity.

Make sure you are getting adequate sleep and based upon how you feel in the morning, adjust and get a bit more rest. Nighttime is when your body is healing so it is important to have the nutrients needed to heal your body. I recommend if you feel added stress in life to take a B complex with dinner to help healing and energy. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist in picking out a supplement or if you have questions.

Lastly, avoid extreme temperatures in exercise, bathing and in general.

Testes need to thermoregulate and have the freedom to move. So, get cozy in boxer shorts, warm not hot baths, showers or saunas and above all do not do hot yoga. I cannot say this often enough! Also, research has shown that cell phones should not be kept in front pockets or left on your lap for long periods of time.

Timed intercourse during your partner/spouse ovulation window should be prior to and during ovulation however, more is not better in this case.

Time it so that every other day is doable. Rest on the non-active days and connect. Men loose essence or reserves with ejaculation so when supporting the kidneys I recommend this every other day to allow for the body to rest and recuperate.

Essence is created by our food, rest, breathing and activities so make sure to make time for exercise, hobbies you enjoy and breathwork. Try meditation, tai chi or yoga for beginners. These activities are important to reduce stress, build yourself back up after a hard week and improve the quality of your life. Create balance as often as you can and set aside time for date nights too. As busy as we all get there is nothing better than time with your sweetie pie…especially when trying to conceive.

If you or your partner feel that there are imbalances in your cycle, performance or other areas that were discussed, please schedule an appointment for a consult. I am available to support your journey with food therapy, herbal prescriptions and more.

 

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