The Male Factor


Go herbal. Green tea and gingko have been linked to male fertility enhancement. The benefits of green tea are numerous. Green tea boosts overall energy and health, while gingko increases circulation to the capillaries, resulting in improved sexual energy as well as improved sexual performance.

Until close family or friends experience some degree of difficulty getting pregnant, it’s easy to take fertility for granted. However, millions of couples seek help for fertility problems each year. They face frustration and growing concern about their prospects for parenthood. Although it is natural to feel discouraged and confused about fertility problems, there are good reasons to be optimistic.

The male factor

The most common cause of male infertility (in about 40 percent of cases) is a varicocele. A varicocele is a dilated vein or set of veins that can affect the temperature and chemical balance of the testicles (most commonly on the left side). A urologist should be consulted for this condition. A recent study shows that sperm count can be improved by a combination of zinc and folic acid. Low Vitamin C has also been implicated in abnormal sperm count. Zinc is found in oysters, crab, red meat,poultry and beans. Folic Acid is found in beef liver, leafy green vegetables, fruits, beans and peas, and often in fortified grains.
Beware of the Varicocele

Many people don’t realise that about half of the time, infertility is due to male factors. Certain circumstances can adversely affect a man’s sperm quality and your chances of achieving pregnancy.

Know Your Childhood Illnesses

Many childhood illnesses or events can adversely affect sperm development. These include viral diseases, and especially mumps (an acute viral disease with symptoms that include fever, swelling, tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands, and testicle swelling in 15 to 25 percent of cases). If mumps affects both testicles, it can lead to permanent sterility.

The male factor

Know Your Surgical History

Hernia surgery can also have an adverse effect, as can surgery of the genitalia or bladder neck.

Beware of Medications

Certain drugs may adversely affect sperm production. Check with your physician before discontinuing use of any prescribed medication.

Avoid Exposure to Chemicals

Exposure to chemicals (including pesticides and chemical fertilisers, heavy metals – such as lead, nickel, mercury – and petrochemicals, benzene, perchloroethylene) or radiation (including X-rays) can lead to abnormal sperm production.

Stay Clear of Drugs

For healthy sperm, avoid alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and any illicit drugs.

Sleep Well. Eat Well.

Be sure to get plenty of rest and eat healthy foods. (Vitamin E supplements may also be of some benefit.)

The male factor

Stay Cool

Avoid excessive heat (i.e. hot tubs, saunas) and wear loose-fitting underwear and clothing. It is also advised not to place a laptop on your lap for long periods of time. Sitting for long periods of time increases scrotal temperatures, according to research. If you have a desk job, or even a long commute to work, be sure to get up and walk around now and then. This is good for concentration, too, so you can boost your fertility and your energy all at once.

Understand Ovulation

Know about the timing of ovulation. Sperm can live for three to five days inside the female reproductive system. The optimal time for intercourse is upon ovulation, which takes place approximately mid-cycle (generally about 14 days before menstruation is due).

Have the Right Amount of Sex

Many couples have intercourse either too frequently or too infrequently. The most effective frequency of intercourse is every 48 hours. You should know that abstinence for three to six days increases sperms volume as well as its quality. But do not overdo it. A longer abstinence, on the contrary, increases the number of old, useless spermatazoons.

Increase Your Water Intake

Although this may sound trivial, basic water is extremely important to many processes of the body including sperm motility, sperm production and conception. Make sure your urine is always clear or you aren’t drinking enough water.

Say ‘No’ to Soy

Too much soy may negatively impact your sperm count, according to a research study that looked at eating habits. Just because you don’t eat tofu doesn’t mean this study won’t apply to you. Soy is found in a number of foods today, including fake meat patties, energy bars and health drinks. You may be surprised at how much soy you’re eating if you take a close look at your diet. The study found men who ate high amounts of soy had lower sperm counts than men who did not. In fact, men who had the highest soy intake had 41 million/ml fewer sperm than men who did not eat soy foods. If you’re overweight or obese, go real easy on your soy intake.

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy may help increase your fertility. Who knew that?

Bacteriospermia, or the presence of bacteria in semen, has been linked to male infertility. In an interesting research study, the condition of 23% of men with bacteria present in their semen did not improve after treatment with antibiotics alone. The researchers conducted dental exams on some of the men who did not improve with antibiotics, and found untreated dental problems present in all of them. In a test group, the patients’ dental problems were treated. In a control group, the dental problems were not addressed. Six months after dental treatment, researchers tested the semen again. Two-thirds of the test group had improved semen health, while those in the control group who had not been treated still had poor semen health.

If you have not achieved pregnancy after one year of trying, consult a urologist. Fertility testing for men is often less involved than is the testing for women: a semen analysis obtained after three days of abstinence is usually the first step.

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that may help increase fertility. Lycopene-rich fruits are apricots, pink grapefruit and watermelon.

Enjoy some sun. Being in the sun has been linked to increased levels of testosterone, which in turn encourages the production of healthy sperm. Sunshine has also been linked to lower production levels of melatonin, which is known to reduce male fertility.

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