Since ages infertility was believed to be a female issue. But contrary to this medieval belief, research has suggested that at least half of childless marriages are due to infertility in men. Approximately one in every 20 male Americans suffer from infertility. Being infertile means inability to procreate a child even after a couple indulges in unprotected sex for more than one year.
Low sperm count and poor sperm motility or any other sperm abnormalities are the foremost reasons for infertility in men. Rest are believed to be due to various causes which include genetic defects, issues with body hormones, chronic diseases such as diabetes, damage to the reproductive organs due to infection such as mumps and sexually transmitted diseases etc.
Besides examining the patient and taking a proper medical history, the physician relies on certain tests for diagnosing male infertility. These tests include analysis of semen, Hormone tests, imaging to detect anatomical abnormalities etc.
Treating male infertility involves finding and addressing the underlying cause. Drug therapy, surgical procedures or natural remedies may have encouraging results.
Common Causes Of Infertility In Men
At least 90 percent of male infertility is caused due to issues pertaining to male sperms. This includes low sperm count or absence of sperm, poorly moving sperms, abnormal structure and shape of sperms. Certain factors which are responsible for this are:
- Varicocele: spermatic cord vein becomes tortuous and varicose which compresses the cord.
- Increasing age: as age increases the sperm production may decrease and the quality and motility may get affected.
- Diseases such as mumps, gonorrhea and syphilis (sexually transmitted diseases) can cause harm to the reproductive organs which manufacture sperms.
- Prolonged exposure to heat. Avoid tight underwear, hot baths, and using electric blanket.
- Frequent ejaculations.
- Retrograde ejaculation can impair the quality of the sperm. This occurs when the semen with the sperm moves backward in the bladder instead of coming out through the penis.
- Imbalance in body hormones.
- Undescended testis.
- Anatomical abnormalities of reproductive structures such as Hypospdias, cryptorchidism, blockage in spermatic cord.
- Exposure to toxins and chemicals especially organophosphates and pesticides.
- Bicycling for hours together which cause overheating of testicles that manufacture sperms.
- Stress, anxiety, obesity, nutrient deficiency especially C vitamin, selenium, Zinc, folate, etc.
Treatment Options For Male Infertility
- Corrective surgery: When a male is found to be infertile, the doctor may examine him to find out if he is suffering from any structural reproductive abnormality. This may include Varicocele, Hypospadias, undescended testis, etc. Varicocele when palpated near the scrotum feels like a bag of worms. He may also suggest imaging tests for this purpose. If anatomical abnormality is detected it can be corrected with surgery.
- Treatment of infection: antibiotic treatment helps to control infections and sexually transmitted diseases which are responsible for infertility in men.
- Hormone treatment: In certain cases where the cause is hormone imbalance, hormone therapy may bear fruitful results.
Natural Remedies To Boost Fertility In Men
When there are no pathological causes identified for infertility in men, alternative medicine and home remedies are found to be effective.
- Wear loose fitting underwear and shorts as they allow keeping the groin area cooler.
- Avoid warm baths, and saunas.
- Reduce your weight as increased BMI has been associated with infertility in men. Sperm count due to obesity may decrease due to decreased level of testosterone, and increase in scrotal temperature due to excess of fat in that area.
- Decrease stress. Practice yoga and meditation.
- Eat vegetables that are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that engulf harmful free radicals which may be responsible for male infertility. Vitamin A, C and E are known to have antioxidant activities. Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, strawberry, oranges, cherries, etc are useful for development of healthy sperms.
- One of the natural ways to increase the fertility is increase the frequency of sexual intercourse. Lovemaking in afternoon and early in the morning is best because during this period the sperm count is at its peak.
- Quit alcohol, smoking and drugs.
- Eat more of protein containing foods.
- Ginko biloba: This natural herb is known to increase the sperm count and its motility.
- Since infertility is also associated with impotence, increase the libido. Garlic, onion, Ginseng is known to increase sexual desire. Eat them in moderate amount to act as an aphrodisiac.