Fertility refers to people’s ability to reproduce without medical assistance.
Male infertility is when a man has a poor chance of making his female partner pregnant. It usually depends on the quality of his sperm cells.
Sometimes infertility is linked to sexual function, and other times it could be linked to semen quality. Here are some examples of each:
Infertility can have multiple causes and may depend on genetics, general health, fitness, diseases, and dietary contaminants.
Additionally, a healthy lifestyle and diet are important. Some foods and nutrients are associated with greater fertility benefits than others.
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Male fertility pills can change a man’s hormones (the endocrine system) in many ways. These medications can get your fertility back on track by increasing the amount of bioavailable testosterone and decrease the amount of estradiol (a form of estrogen). The drugs used for this purpose are the following:
Most of these fertility drugs are taken by mouth except hCG and hMG, which are injections. As with any medication, these drugs do have side effects, but don’t worry, our goal is to find the best medication for your body and its needs.
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The following are the most common medications used to treat male fertility factors, including information about usage and associated risk factors and side effects.
It may come as a surprise to learn that the same oral medication prescribed to women to promote ovulation is also prescribed to some men in order to improve sperm count.
Clomiphene citrate is an estrogen blocker. When men take it in oral form, it triggers the pituitary gland to make more luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulation hormone (FSH). A higher-level of these two hormones can improve sperm count, morphology and motility. Clomiphene citrate also increases higher levels of natural testosterone.
Note About Testosterone Supplementation: Many men mistakenly believe that testosterone therapy supports healthy sperm production and development. Quite the opposite is true. When you take supplemental testosterone, it can signal to your body that there’s plenty of testosterone in your system. This prevents the testes from producing more, healthy sperm. Always rely on a sperm analysis by a fertility specialist and adhere strictly to his/her recommendations when treating male infertility.
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If you are one of the rare males who doesn’t respond to clomiphene citrate, your doctor will probably prescribe hCG or hMG injections. These have the same side effects (and benefits) listed above but are only prescribed when required since they are injectable medications, adding a level of complexity to their handling and administration.
Anastrazole was initially developed for women and men with breast cancers that are estrogen-sensitive (stimulated by estrogen). It prevents excess testosterone from converting into estradiol inside the body’s tissues. Anastrazole is typically used when a man’s estradiol levels are higher and testosterone levels are lower than they should be.
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Often, an exact cause of infertility can't be identified. Even if an exact cause isn't clear, your doctor might be able to recommend treatments or procedures that will result in conception.
In cases of infertility, the female partner also is recommended to be checked. This can help to determine if she will require any specific treatments or if proceeding with assisted reproductive techniques is appropriate.
Treatments for male infertility include:
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Medication can improve sperm count in some men with infertility. Your doctor may prescribe an estrogen receptor blocker, such as clomiphene citrate, which stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain. Clomid is the brand name for clomiphene and is currently FDA-approved for female infertility, but doctors can also prescribe clomid for men for off-label use. It's usually given to men who have a low sperm count caused by low testosterone levels.
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There are many antioxidants, but the ones that have been specifically studied in regards to improving sperm health are:
As with all things, moderation is still best. Don't eat too many of these foods (Brazil nuts should not be eaten every day, for example). You can try to add more of these foods into your diet or consider taking a supplement. Talk to your doctor first, since some supplements can interfere with other medications.
If you want to have a baby, you need to have sex around the time of ovulation. Having frequent sex all month long, however, may help increase your fertility.
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Too much soy may impact your sperm counts, according to a research study that looked at eating habits. The study found men who ate high amounts of soy had lower sperm counts than men who did not. 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.
If you're overweight or obese, go real easy on your soy intake. For everyone else, just don't eat too much of it.
If you're having difficulty conceiving, you may want to look at your job. Your occupation can have an effect on male fertility.
Common sense dictates that avoiding contact with toxins in the workplace as much as possible is vital, whether that means wearing a mask and gloves, or just keeping your body well-covered and clean from chemicals.
You already know many good reasons to kick your smoking habit. If you weren't convinced yet, now you have one more reason: Quitting smoking may increase your fertility.
The male reproductive organs are outside of the body for a reason to keep them at temperatures lower than 98.6 degrees F, our normal body temperature. High temperatures can damage sperm. To keep things cool:
One way to increase your fertility is to bring your weight to a healthier level. Being over- or under-weight can upset hormone balance, leading to lower sperm counts.9 If you are not sure if your weight is within the healthy zone, check your body mass index (BMI).
In a study of thin men, researchers found that those with a BMI less than 20 had lower sperm concentration and a 28.1% lower total sperm count. They also found that FSH, a hormone that plays a role in the reproductive system, was higher in slim men.
In a separate study, men with obesity had lower testosterone levels. Also, as BMI levels went up, the incidence of lower sperm counts went up. For example, for men with a normal BMI, 5.3% had low sperm counts. In overweight men, 9.5% had low sperm counts, and 15.6% of obese men had low sperm counts.
Too much alcohol can decrease your fertility. Therefore, you may want to cut back on drinking if you want to conceive. A study looking at alcoholics found that only 12% of the men had completely normal sperm counts and health, compared to 37% of non-smokers and non-alcoholics.
Better oral health may help increase your fertility. Bacteriospermia, or the presence of bacteria in semen, has been linked to male infertility. In one study, 23% of men with bacteria present in their semen did not improve after treatment with antibiotics alone.
The role of diet and fertility is not well understood, since it's difficult to study diet, but the available evidence indicates a healthier diet is better for fertility.
Various medical conditions can affect fertility. Untreated diabetes may lead to infertility by causing retrograde ejaculation.
Even if you're without symptoms, you might want to get your blood sugars tested if you have been diagnosed with retrograde ejaculation. Up to one-third of people with diabetes are unaware that they have the disease.
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