When you have oligospermia or low sperm count, it means that when you ejaculate, your semen contains only a small number of sperms. If there’s no live sperm contained in your semen at all, that’s called complete azoospermia. Whether it’s oligospermia or azoospermia, it means your fertility is impaired.
In order for your sperm count to be considered normal, you need to have at least 15 million sperm for every milliliter of your semen. Here are several ways for you to reach that magic number and restore your fertility.
Causes and Symptoms of Oligospermia
The most obvious symptom of oligospermia is your inability to father a child. However, this can be accompanied by other noticeable symptoms such as swelling or pain in your testicles, low libido, erectile dysfunction, and decreased facial or body hair.
Some men don’t know that they have a low sperm count until they actually get their sperm analyzed. That’s because many of the causes of oligospermia are not always observable.
For instance, a chromosomal abnormality or a genetic defect can impair your sperm production, resulting in a low number of viable sperms. Other causes of oligospermia include varicocele, hormonal imbalances, and urethral strictures.
A high concentration of anti-sperm antibodies can also result in a low sperm count. Infections, defects or scarring in the tubules that are responsible for transporting your sperm, and certain medications can also negatively affect your sperm production and lower your sperm count.
Effectively Boosting Your Sperm Count
In cases wherein oligospermia is not treatable by surgery or medication, such as when you are suffering from idiopathic infertility, you can try the following ways to naturally improve your sperm production and raise your sperm count.
#1 Improved Diet
Recent studies revealed that high levels of reactive oxygen species and free radicals are a major factor in male infertility. These cause damage not only to your sperm but also to the testicular cells and structures that are responsible for producing and nurturing your sperm.
To counter the effects of these free radicals and reactive oxygen species, you’ll need a lot of antioxidants. You can boost your antioxidant levels by making sure that you eat a healthful diet containing various antioxidant-rich foods.
Zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin E are some of the nutrients with antioxidant properties that help protect your sperm from the damage caused by reactive oxygen species and free radicals. Infertile men often have low levels of zinc and vitamins C and E in their semen.
This means that you’ll need to eat oysters, shellfish, fatty fish, fruits, and vegetables that can give you these much-needed antioxidants. You should also increase your intake of foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids such as nuts, seeds, fish, and seafood. You need omega-3 fatty acids to improve your sperm morphology, motility, and sperm count.
#2 Regular Exercise
Being physically active can benefit your overall health and improve your reproductive function in so many ways. Recent studies show that obesity and lack of physical exercise can result in various reproductive function abnormalities such as impaired fertility, erectile dysfunction, and hypogonadism.
In contrast, regular physical exercise is known to promote hormonal balance and improve sperm parameters. According to a 2012 study conducted by researchers from the University of Cordoba, men who are physically active tend to have better semen parameters as compared to men who do not exercise regularly.
In addition, exercise can also help lower your stress levels. Chronic stress can actually negatively affect your reproductive function by causing hormonal imbalance, vasoconstriction, and high oxidative stress levels. Moreover, exercising regularly can also help increase your levels of testosterone, which also benefit your reproductive health and reduce stress.
For men who are not fond of going to the gym and lifting weights, walking is a great alternative. Aerobic exercises such as walking are actually scientifically proven to help improve erectile function. And if you go for morning walks regularly, that can also help raise your vitamin D levels, which is also beneficial for your fertility.
#3 Take Fertility-Enhancing Supplements
Tribulus terrestris, fenugreek, Ashwagandha, and maca are some of the best fertility-enhancing supplements you can try. Also referred to as puncture vine, Tribulus terrestris has long been scientifically recognized as an excellent male fertility booster.
Studies indicate that Tribulus terrestris helps improve sperm count and sperm motility. It can also help improve sperm morphology, thanks to its high antioxidant content. On top of that, you can enjoy the added benefits of having an improved libido and erectile function when you take Tribulus terrestris supplements.
Fenugreek is also known to have testosterone-boosting, aphrodisiac, and fertility-enhancing properties. Because it prevents aromatase from converting your free testosterone into estradiol, fenugreek helps ensure that you have high free testosterone levels, which your body can then use to produce and nourish sperm.
Ashwagandha is another medicinal herb that is known to improve sperm motility, semen volume, and sperm count. On top of that, there’s also scientific evidence that Ashwagandha can effectively raise your testosterone levels, which may account for its aphrodisiac and erection-enhancing effects.
Maca is also widely recognized as a pro-erectile and pro-fertility supplement. It’s actually a root vegetable belonging to the same family as broccoli, which means that it’s also highly nutritious and full of antioxidants.
Although maca is widely popular as a traditional remedy for male sexual dysfunction, recent studies indicate that dried maca root can also help improve sperm count and sperm motility.
One of the reasons why these herbs are so effective in improving male fertility is that they contain high concentrations of antioxidant compounds, which is helpful in reducing oxidative stress levels.
In the presence of high oxidative stress levels, the cells in your testicles that are responsible for producing and nurturing your sperm can get structurally altered. This can then result in reduced testicular function and impaired fertility.
In addition, high oxidative stress levels can cause abnormalities in your sperm morphology, which is also detrimental to your reproductive potential. This is why antioxidants are crucial for your fertility.