What You Need to Know About Male Infertility
As our cultural and medical understanding of sperm health and male fertility grows, our sperm quality and quantity declines.
A study found a hefty decline in sperm counts between 1973 and 2011, a 50-60% drop in this time; dramatic to say the least. Most disturbing is there are only theories and notions as to what is the actual cause of this steep decline. Sperm production is a complicated biochemical process and to assess the variables that are in play in its healthy production is difficult. Usually, studies will look at one or two chemicals or variables to see how they affect sperm health.
These types of studies will often show concrete correlations between phthalate exposure or stress levels and lower testosterone. However, to have a full picture of the situation is extremely difficult, and all we can do now is investigate trends and specific factors that may be contributing.
Factors that Impact Sperm Health
- Air quality
- Exercise or lack thereof
- Food choices
- Sleep quality
- Alcohol and drug use
- Prescription medications
- Long term toxin exposure
- Exposure to hormone-like substances in our food, water, and environment
The Result of Poor Sperm Health
As a result, male infertility affects 10-15% of couples worldwide. Societal norms have shifted to people having children later in life, thus bringing in age as a major factor with respect to pregnancy for men and women. Deteriorating sperm quality from the mid-30s onwards becomes a contributing factor to difficulty conceiving and miscarriage. A study from Harvard Medical School has shown that indeed it can be more difficult to conceive if the father is older. Delaying fatherhood makes sense to many of us but unfortunately can have detrimental effects on our sperm health and overall systemic oxidative stress levels.
Luckily there are ways to slow down and even reverse some of these changes. Acupuncture, food, exercise, supplements, lifestyle awareness – embrace them all and you will see a change to both your overall health and sperm quality.
What to Avoid
- Processed foods
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Avoid a sedentary life
Benefits of Acupuncture to Infertility
Imagine having the patience and confidence to know that you can take action and use some simple tools to improve your fertile self. Imagine that positive change takes time, but that this will allow you to integrate health into your daily experiences, leading to benefits beyond fertility, including longer life span and happiness. Imagine that you will be the best version of yourself for your future child.
How can we tap into this incredible history of knowledge and experience? We know that acupuncture supports homeostasis, regulates the organ systems, balances immunity, and aids in reduced stress response and a calmer nervous system. With each treatment being completely focused on you and your specific health concerns, the effects are targeted. Furthermore, we know how to eat, how to exercise, how to live a “fertile” life.
Results of Acupuncture
With our treatments, you will experience:
- Improved sperm parameters to improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy
- Reduce the incidence of miscarriage
- Improved sexual health
- More energy and improved sleep
- Reduced pain, whether acute or chronic
- Improved mood and mental health
Testimonials of Acupuncture and Infertility
Combining the modern and traditional models of therapy is the best approach to improving and maintaining balanced hormones and healthy sperm. Modern research has given us more specific ideas and has helped to establish treatment protocols while working with traditional techniques and methods of diagnosis and therapy.
It is becoming clearer that Chinese medicine and acupuncture are legitimate additions to conventional/biomedical therapies, with a growing body of evidence to support its use for improving sperm health and reducing infertility in men. Some research on acupuncture and sperm health can be found below:
- Acupuncture improves sperm morphology: Acupuncture and Morphology – “A significant improvement in morphology was detected with treatments of 2/week over 5 weeks”. Pen, J. 2005.
- Acupuncture increases sperm concentration: Acupuncture and Concentration – “ Acupuncture is a useful, non-traumatic treatment for males with very poor sperm concentration, especially those with a history of genital tract inflammation.” Sitermen, S. 2000.
- Acupuncture improves sperm motility: Acupuncture and Motility/Concentration – “ A significantly higher percentage of motile sperm was found after acupuncture compared with placebo acupuncture.” Dieterle, S. 2009.
- Acupuncture improves sperm count: Acupuncture and Motility/Concentration – “Acupuncture and moxa techniques significantly increase the percentage of normal-form sperm in infertile patients”. Gurfinkel, E. 2003
- Acupuncture improves blood flow to the testicles, supplying oxygen, removing waste, and nourishing the environment: Electroacupuncture and Testicular Blood Flow (TBF) “The 10-Hz EA stimulation of ST-29 (guilai) increased TBF” Cakmak, YO. 2008.
How The Berkley Center Acupuncture Services Can Help Infertility
First, you will have an extensive intake and evaluation done. The we begin acupuncture treatments on the first visit and talk about some basics of sperm health and how to start making immediate improvements.
If stress is an issue we will include stress-reducing-treatments and discuss strategies to help reduce stress. We will meet twice weekly and continue to monitor your sperm for improvements.
A full cycle of spermatogenesis is 3 months including transport in the ductal system, so it often requires treatments for 3 – 6 months or more.
These treatments take time and involve subtle long term changes to your body and health. Patience is key and so is taking action now.
How Acupuncture Can Lead to Fertility
Men, it is up to you to take control of your bodies and educate yourselves on the reality of fertility in the modern world. Things can be more complicated than they appear on the surface, but there are answers and we can offer therapy and knowledge that are proven to work.