Are you worried that you might be shooting blanks? If it's any consolation, you're not the only one who's concerned about the quality of your sperm. I
Are you worried that you might be shooting blanks? If it’s any consolation, you’re not the only one who’s concerned about the quality of your sperm. It’s actually a global problem, and experts are worried that male infertility is increasing.
Thanks to numerous studies, we now have a better understanding of factors that can impact the quality of one’s sperm. Here we’ll tell you about what things you should avoid if you don’t want your sperm to become less fertile.
Experts estimate that approximately half of the infertility cases are due to problems with the male partner. For male infertility, there are three possible causes. The first one has to do with abnormal sperm production which affects both the quantity and quality of your sperm.
The second problem that may hinder you from impregnating your partner is when there are problems with sperm delivery such as when there’s a blockage in your urethra so your sperm can’t get out of your penis.
The third cause of male infertility is related to the environment surrounding your sperm cells as they develop inside your testicles. If your sperm is overexposed to certain chemicals, the quality of your sperm will deteriorate.
Abnormal Sperm Production
Problems in your sperm production not only result in a low sperm count but also poor sperm quality. Common causes include:
When a vein in your testes is enlarged similar to a varicose vein, this can cause your testicular temperature to rise. Ideally, the temperature inside your testes should be 1 to 2°C below your body temperature. Even a 1°C increase in your scrotal temperature can already significantly reduce your sperm concentration.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia are known to contribute to male infertility. Studies show that chlamydia can cause scarring inside the urethra, which can then block the delivery of your sperm. Chlamydia has also been shown to cause a high percentage of sperm DNA fragmentation.
Klinefelter syndrome and Y-chromosome deletions severely affect your capability to produce good quality sperm. An extra X chromosome caused by Klinefelter syndrome means you’re not producing enough testosterone nor spermatozoa. Some men with Y-chromosome deletions do not produce any sperm at all.
Problems with Sperm Delivery
When you ejaculate inside your partner’s vagina during sex, you’re basically delivering your sperm into her vaginal canal. From there, your spermatozoa are supposed to swim up your partner’s reproductive tract until they reach the egg cell to fertilize it. Problems in this delivery system mean only a few or none of your sperm cells make it.
Erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, and premature ejaculation are examples of sexual problems that prevent you from depositing your sperm inside your partner’s vaginal canal.
From the testes to your urethra, your spermatozoa have to go through a series of tubes before they can successfully exit your penis. When there’s a structural problem such as a urethral stricture blocking the way, it could affect the amount of sperm contained in your ejaculate.
Cystic fibrosis is another example of a genetic disease that can cause male infertility. It causes you to produce thick mucus in your reproductive tract which then blocks your sperm from going to your vas deferens.
Environmental Factors That Affect Your Sperm Quality
Known to cause several types of sperm damage, high oxidative stress levels are common among infertile men. It’s tied to low sperm production, poor sperm motility, a high percentage of sperm with DNA damage, and poor sperm morphology. Oxidative stress happens when there’s a very high concentration of free radicals and reactive oxygen species.
Hundreds of toxic chemicals are contained in cigarette smoke. Multiple studies have confirmed that chronic smoking does a lot of damage to the male reproductive system. The heavier you smoke, the more damage it causes to your reproductive capability.
Chronic alcohol consumption, just like heavy smoking and illegal substance use, is another lifestyle factor that’s detrimental to male fertility. Semen parameters like volume, morphology, and motility are significantly reduced in men who are chronic alcohol drinkers.
Enhancing Your Sperm Quality
Although assisted reproductive technology has now become more accessible, such an option isn’t always available for many infertile men. For one, the procedure can be quite costly, and it may take several tries before success is met.
Instead of going to a fertility clinic, a lot of men prefer enhancing their fertility through natural methods. Indeed, even if you were to consult your doctor, it’s highly likely that you would still be advised to take certain steps such as exercising regularly to improve your fertility.
Aside from regular exercise, certain herb-based supplements are also scientifically acknowledged to have fertility-enhancing properties. These include:
For men with idiopathic or unexplained infertility, Tongkat Ali is highly recommended. In a previous study, almost 15% of 75 men who were diagnosed with idiopathic infertility successfully impregnated their partner after nine months of Tongkat Ali supplementation.
Another herb that’s frequently subjected to studies focusing on male sexual and reproductive health, Tribulus terrestris has also been shown to benefit infertile men. A 2017 study, for instance, showed that Tribulus terrestris supplementation resulted in greatly improved sperm liquefaction time, sperm concentration, and sperm motility.
Recognized in traditional medicine as an aphrodisiac and sexual performance enhancer, Ashwagandha has been scientifically shown to contain several types of antioxidants, the beneficial effects of which include improved sperm count and motility, as well as reduced lipid peroxidation, and improved regulation of reproductive hormone levels.
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