Male infertility in healthy men is usually the result of either lifestyle or environmental factors that can be minimized with simple changes. There are medical issues that can cause infertility, such as inherited disorders, varicoceles (swelling of the veins), and previous groin injuries.
However, if all of these have been ruled out or treated, it’s time to think of what other natural methods can be followed before resorting to surgery or expensive drugs with potentially harmful side effects.
Causes of Male Infertility
When a man is referred to as infertile, it usually means either the reproductive system is not producing sperm (low sperm count), it is producing damaged sperm, the sperm lack motility (ability to fertilize the egg) or a combination of any or all of these.
There are several main reasons that cause male infertility:
- Diet & Lifestyle: A diet high in mass produced meat or soy can introduce xenohormones that will cause increased estrogen and lower sperm count. Excessive saturated fat or alcohol can inhibit function and quality of sperm. Obesity, smoking and illegal or prescription drugs can also affect sperm production, health and sexual function.
- Environmental factors: Trauma, heat and excessive exposure to pesticides, hot tubs, saunas and tight briefs can all result in too much heat and sperm damage. Long distance cycling can have a combined effect of heat and trauma.
- Improper delivery or production: This can result from genetic defects, undescended testicles, premature ejaculation, cystic fibrosis, or blockages.
- Age and stress: As men age, sperm production decreases, as does their motility. Stress can cause effects similar to aging in younger men.
- Cancer or cancer treatment: Cancer of reproductive organs, cysts and tumors can all inhibit sperm production and motility and treatments like chemotherapy will damage sperm that is produced.
Treating male infertility
The first step to take when dealing with infertility is always a trip to the physician to exclude serious physical ailments and to consult with a physician on possible causes and courses of action.
If the problem doesn’t seem to be physical, or is caused by hormone imbalances, there are a number of ways to try and treat the problem naturally:
- Sex: Planning sex for the days when ovulation occurs is a necessity. Having sex once a day or even every other day around that time increases the chance of conception. But too much or trying too hard can reduce the sperm count and effectiveness. So is it important not to go overboard. Avoid the use of lubricants that may slow or inhibit sperm motility.
- Diet: It is best to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and organic meat and dairy. A colorful and varied diet will usually include the requisite vitamins and minerals. Some to focus on include: selenium, Vitamin E, Zinc, Folate, CoQ10, Vitamin C, l-carnitine and antioxidants. Saturated fat and soy should be kept as minimal as possible. In addition to adding and eliminating foods, beverages are also important. Alcoholic drinks should be kept to a maximum of 2 per day while trying to conceive. And caffeine should be minimized to about one serving (cup of coffee or tea) a day.
- Lifestyle: In addition to diet, exercise is important to rid the body of toxins and to optimize all organ function, including sperm production. Boxers should be substituted for briefs, no heat exposure and eliminate smoking or drugs as much as possible.
- Herbs: There are many herbs that are thought to assist with fertility in men, but they must be used with nutritional or medical consultation. They include: American ginseng root, Ashwaganda root, Epimedium, Ginkgo leaves, Goji berries, Maca root, Fo-ti root, Saw palmetto berries, tribulus and schisandra
- Acupuncture: Similar to the successful (and documented) fertility treatments in women, acupuncture has also shown to be similarly successful in treating male infertility. Studies show increased motility and increased levels of healthy sperm after just 5 weeks of treatment.
Infertility in male is treatable and if addressed during the first signs of problems with conception, it can often be cured or minimized with lifestyle changes. Thinking of a holistic and conscious effort of your total health will help you minimize and reverse infertility.