For a long time women have been the focus in the issue of fertility but we often forget the significant role that men play in order for couples to conceive.
About one in five couples have difficulty conceiving (1) and male partners are the cause in approximately 40-50% of fertility problems. This is a growing issue as sperm and semen quality have decreased by 45% in the past 50 years. Causes of this decrease can be attributed to environmental toxins, alcohol, lifestyle and stress, to name but a few (2).
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can provide a great help to couples looking to improve male fertility. Research has shown that acupuncture improves sperm production and quality. In a 2002 study, the clinical effects of acupuncture on idiopathic (unknown cause) male infertility were investigated. The sperm of the patients before and after acupuncture treatments were analyzed and it was found that the sperm motility was significantly improved, the normal sperm ratio increased and fertilization rates were higher after receiving acupuncture treatments. (3,4).
How does acupuncture help?
Qi is a vital energy in our body which runs freely along the energy channels. Acupuncturists believe that proper circulation of qi is important for our general well being. If the qi flow is disrupted, our body falls out of balance leading to illnesses.
Acupuncture enhances natural healing systems by influencing the flow of energy and bringing the body back to a balanced state. As acupuncture addresses the whole body it can help solve many other health problems and needless to say, a healthy body produces healthy sperm.
Acupuncture is a natural noninvasive method that can improve sperm quality as well as your general well being. Contact me, Ann, the acupuncturist at Pure Healthcare and we can talk more about helping you or your partner and increasing the members in your family!
Do you know what may reduce your sperm quality?
- Body building supplements - Anabolic steroids may decrease sperm count and quality and also result in the shrinking of testes.
- Heat - Sperm does not tolerate too much heat. Increased exposure to heat may lead to lower sperm count. Avoid long hot showers or bath.
- Laptop – Leave your laptop on the desk, not on your thighs! In certain positions laptop may increase scrotum temperature.
- Briefs/ tight pants - Wearing too tight pants or underwear for a long period of time may provide an uncomfortable environment for the sperm.
- Cell phones - Long term exposure to radiation may decrease sperm quality (for example, carrying a mobile phone in your pocket).
- Smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs - Studies show that alcohol has a negative effect on semen quality. Smokers can have more abnormal sperm than non smokers. Recreational drugs like marijuana and cocaine can also affect overall male fertility.
- Environmental pollutants/chemicals - Chemicals such as dyes, lead, plastics may impair fertility.
- Obesity – Can cause many issues and infertility are one of them (6,7).
1. Kremer, Jason Z. Treatment of Male Infertility Due to Obstructive Azoospermia with Acupuncture and Moxibustion: A Case Report [online]. Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2009: 18-23. Availability: ISSN: 1833-9735. [cited 02 Jun 17].
2. Murray, M, Pizzorno J. “Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised 2nd Edition”, Prima Publishing, 1988; 575-86
3. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection for Infertility [Internet]. WebMD. 2017 [cited 1 June 2017]. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/intracytoplasmic-sperm-injection-for-infertility
4. Mingmin Z, Guangying H, Fuer L, Paulus W, Sterzik K. Influence of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in assisted reproductive technology. Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology [Medical Sciences]. 2002;22(3):228-230.
5. Maciocia G. The foundations of Chinese medicine. 1st ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 1989.
6. Kain E. Trying to Get Pregnant? 10 Proven Sperm Killers [Internet]. Health.com. 2017 [cited 1 June 2017]. Available from: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20344474,00.html
7. Anchan D. 17 things that affect your sperm [Internet]. 2017 [cited 1 June 2017]. Available from: http://www.thehealthsite.com/sexual-health/things-that-affect-your-sperm-count-sperm-motility-and-sperm-health/