It Takes a Million to Tango…

male-fertility-doctor

Here at Hana Wellness I discuss women’s health, and fertility a LOT. Today, however, I’m bringing in an expert to teach on a subject rarely discussed…men’s fertility. 

Last week on the blog I discussed the importance of finding a doctor you trust. I am so thankful that I wholeheartedly trust my doctor, Dr. Susan Lundgren. While she hasn’t had to help me or my husband in this particular area, I am privileged to have her share her wisdom for anyone dealing with this issue.

It Takes a million to Tango…

Healthy swimmers for fertility success

Sometimes we forget that both sets of DNA input are equal at the start of a baby’s life. When counseling parents to be, I like both people to be health aware.  However, because fertility is so female focused, when it comes to difficulty conceiving, men can be at a loss for good information on how to boost their own fertility.

For men, it is good to start with a basic sperm analysis when there is difficulty with conception. Remember, poor results can many times be altered with a healthy lifestyle, herbs, and or a cleanse. Most labs are NOT a life sentence!

Fertility Lab Testing for Men

Sperm Analysis

This test provides information on the motility (how strong they swim), the morphology (how well formed they are) and the health of the sperm.

How to prep for the Test:

Timing is everything!

  • First find a doctor or lab that can do the test.
  • You will pre fill out all paperwork, including insurance forms. After collecting your sperm you have limited time and do not want to have a delay due to paperwork!
  • Abstain from sex, masturbation, ejaculation for 3 days prior to collecting sample!
  • Collect sample either at the lab or at home (if you are a short distance away)

Fertility is more than sperm health. As we know stress can affect our adrenals ability to produce our sex hormones plus interfere with reproduction. Hormone testing and cortisol testing can be very useful too!

Baby Batter

Characteristics of Sperm:

Sperm are constantly being produced in healthy men, so it is a good idea to try these  natural methods for improving sperm quality and effectiveness and re-test. Sperm quality includes count, morphology (shape), and motility (swimming).

Sperm count is the number of sperm contained in a certain volume of semen. Ideally, sperm count is 15 million sperm per milliliter or greater. The average ejaculate contains about 4 milliliters of semen. The higher the sperm count the better.

Sperm morphology is the size and shape of the sperm. Ideally, sperm have an oval head and a long tail. But sometimes sperm have defects, such as misshapen heads or crooked tails, which can affect the sperm’s ability to reach and fertilize an egg.

Sperm motility is the capacity for sperm to propel themselves in a forward direction for a sustained period of time. It’s a long journey to the egg, so speed, and endurance are critical. Ideally, the percentage of properly moving sperm in a semen sample is 50% or higher.

First eating a clean diet of organic whole foods is optimum. This way you are not ingesting pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, artificial coloring, antibiotics, and most importantly hormones.

Top Tips for Better Batter:

  • Avoid foods with Hormones (read food labels)
  • Keep electronics away from the family jewels. No cellphones in pockets or laptops on laps!
  • Quit Smoking, this should be obvious. It decreases sperm count and affects morphology.
  • De-stress. Stress lowers testosterone levels.
  • Eat Pumpkin seeds! Eat foods high in zinc (pumpkin seeds, green leafy veggies, lamb) Zinc prevents the buildup of DHT, if DHT levels increase it will break down testosterone which not only negatively affects fertility (we need zinc to make sperm and testosterone) it also increases balding and decreases libido.
  • Eat foods high in vit C- it is good for the adrenals, which produce a portion of sex hormones and Vit C is good for the body!
  • Herbs: Maca and ginseng can increase sperm count and saw palmetto, which Inhibits 5-α-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (stronger androgen) plus promotes the binding of DHT to receptors in prostatic tissue so you do not get the negative effects of high DHT.

Increasing Sperm Count

Try the following to increase sperm count:

  • Get your rest. Your body is at its sperm-producing peak when you sleep. Try for a full 8 hrs each night as often as possible.
  • Improve your diet. A diet whole food based diet with good protein (like nuts, seeds, organic meats without hormones), healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, fatty wild caught fish and loads of veggies is good for your overall health and for sperm production.
  • Drink plenty of water, hydration is important!
  • Weight management: Overweight men have poorer sperm counts. Losing as little as 5% of body weight can positively impact sperm production!
  • Reduce stress, as it can interfere with the hormones that assist in sperm production. Exercise can reduce stress impact on fertility and it also improves sexual satisfaction and decreases erectile dysfunction sometimes found with stress.
  • Smoking: Smoking adversely affects sperm count, size, and motility. It has also been linked to health problems in babies born from fathers who smoke. Marijuana and illegal drugs can also negatively impact sperm production.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption or stop drinking altogether. As few as two drinks per day can have long-term adverse effects on sperm production.
  • Cyclist, if you ride a bike, change your bike seat to a special type that allows more air flow. Bicycle seats create friction, heat, and stress which decrease sperm quality. Limit those factors and you’ll produce more sperm.

Other tips:

Make sure to ejaculate regularly throughout the month when trying to conceive. At least twice a week keeps your testosterone levels high and your sperm production at its best.

During the week of the woman’s ovulation, men with normal sperm counts can have intercourse every day. However, men with low sperm counts should restrict “baby making” to every other day.

Improve Sperm Morphology (Shape)

Try the following to increase sperm morphology (shape):

  • Detox: Avoid environmental toxins. Exposure to smoke, pesticides, and household chemicals can disfigure or kill sperm, thereby lowering sperm counts. Wear protective gloves and clothing when using chemicals.
  • Vit C: Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants to lower sperm defects and increase sperm motility. Strawberries, bell peppers, oranges.
  • Medications: Review medications you are taking with a fertility specialist. Some medications, such as antidepressants, can cause poor sperm. Other types of medications don’t harm sperm, so check your medication list.

Improve Sperm Motility (Swimming)

  • Avoid heat including hot baths, hot tubs, saunas, and laptop computers on your lap. Wear light, comfortable underwear. Sleeping naked, is healthy and fun!
  • Use only fertility-friendly lubricants like organic ones or coconut oil. Lubricants that are not fertility-friendly can interfere with sperm movement and may actually damage sperm.

Dr LundgrenDr. Lundgren is a licensed naturopathic doctor, but not your typical doctor. She spends quality time with each patient to listen and understand their concerns and deal with issues at a root cause level, rather than symptom management.

Have questions for Dr. Lundgren or are interested in her services? Contact her at Ptera Wellness