Low Sperm Count Treatment for Getting PregnantFertility Treatment
In 50% of infertile couples, the cause of infertility is the male partner. Low sperm count, abnormal sperm shape, and low sperm motility are men's leading causes of infertility. These problems can easily be diagnosed by semen analysis, also known as sperm count tests and spermogram.
Factors such as anxiety, being overweight, and poor diet affect the number and motility of sperm and can lead to infertility. Studies have shown that having a proper and nutritious diet and following the essential care tips can minimize sperm disorders and improve sperm count. In this article, we mention some tips on how to increase sperm count and how eliminate male infertility factors.
Factors Affecting Sperm Quality
Various factors affect male fertility and the quality of sperm, the most important of which include:
About 90% of male infertility problems are due to low sperm count, also known as oligospermia. The minimum sperm count in each ejaculation is about 15 million per millilitre, less of which increases the risk of infertility. In other words, a sperm count of less than 10 million per millilitre is abnormal and may lead to male infertility.
Investigations have revealed that factors that alter the body's testosterone level impact sperm number. Drinking alcohol, taking certain medications, aging, obesity, smoking, etc., significantly affect testosterone production. So, by controlling these factors, one can improve sperm count in each ejaculation.
Sperms move in the female reproductive system at different speeds. The sperm must move forward fast enough to reach the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. Low sperm motility is commonly seen in men with low sperm counts. To treat this problem, doctors determine the type of sperm movement (either precession or progressive) and then use the most suitable treatment.
The natural shape of sperm, i.e., having an oval head and a long tail plays an important role in increasing the chance of fertility. The most important reasons for abnormal sperm morphology include drug addiction, a history of infection, varicocele, congenital problems, etc.
Low Sperm Count Symptoms
Men who cannot conceive a child after a year of effort should take fertility tests, such as genetic tests, hormonal tests, testicular biopsy, testicular ultrasound, etc., to find the cause of infertility. In the majority of cases, male infertility cause is the weakness of the sperm, which can be diagnosed by observing some general symptoms such as:
- Low sex drive;
- Erectile dysfunction;
- Pain or swelling in the testicles;
- The emergence of lumps in the testicles;
- Losing hair on the face or body;
- Hormonal imbalance;
- Diluted semen; and
- A small volume of semen.
Moreover, men with a history of sexual dysfunction, prostate cancer, testicular problems, or who have undergone certain surgeries on the testicles, penis, or groin can have weak sperms as well.
Reasons for Low Sperm Count
Although there is no obvious reason for the low sperm count, in most cases, the cause of this problem is one of the following:
- Hormonal imbalance;
- Genetic problems;
- The problem in the genital tract;
- Infection of the genital tract and prostate;
- Previous testicles surgeries;
- Overheating of the testicles;
- Smoking and drinking alcohol;
- Taking certain medications such as testosterone supplements or psoriasis medication;
- Getting kicked in the testicles;
- Rotation of testis;
- Diseases such as diabetes, AIDS, heart attacks, kidney and liver failure, Cushing syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and severe iron deficiency;
- Exposure to toxic substances such as copper, ethylene oxide, cadmium, mercury, vinyl chloride, and radioactive;
- Undescended testicles (cryptorchidism);
- Physical, mental, and emotional stress;
- Being overweight;
- Precocious or late puberty;
- Hernia repair surgery; and
- Air pollution and toxic substances such as lead are in the air.
Diagnosing Low Sperm Count
Today, several methods are practised to diagnose low sperm count, such as:
- Semen analysis;
- Physical examination;
- Checking medical history;
- Blood test to check hormones or chromosomes;
- Post-ejaculation urinalysis to check for retrograde ejaculation;
- Anti-sperm antibody tests to check for antibodies that kill the sperms;
- Prostate test to check for blockage of the vas deferens;
- Biopsy to check for blockage in vas deferens; and
- Ultrasound scanning for diagnosing prostate.
So far, semen analysis or spermogram has been the most reliable test for diagnosing oligospermia, sperm low motility, and sperm abnormal morphology. During the spermogram, the patient should ejaculate in a cup and give the semen sample to the laboratory to be examined. Sometimes, the doctor may ask the patient to repeat the test several times to obtain consistent results.
Low Sperm Count and Infertility
Fortunately, having oligospermia doesn’t mean you are completely infertile; however, getting your partner pregnant may take longer. If there is a problem with one or two of your sperm parameters (such as motility, morphology, count, etc.), you can still get your partner pregnant. Still, the cause of infertility should be resolved by taking medications or changing your lifestyle.
How to Increase Sperm Count?
It would help if you modified your lifestyle and diet to increase sperm count and boost male fertility. Factors that affect testosterone levels will impact sperm quantity and quality the most. In general, to boost sperm count and minimize its abnormalities, it is recommended to observe the following care on how to increase sperm count:
Avoid taking hot baths
The ideal temperature for sperm production is about 34.5. Studies show that men who avoid hot baths have experienced a 50% increase in sperm production.
Reduce your stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can highly endanger the body’s immune system and sperm production. When you have mental stress, your body focuses on survival and reduces its attention to other activities, such as sperm production. So, reducing your anxiety is considered an efficient low sperm count treatment.
In addition to all the harm smoking does to the body, it drastically reduces sperm count. Therefore, if you wish to have a child, you should quit smoking to improve your sperm count.
Do not wear tight underwear.
The testicles are placed in sacs outside the body because they must be cooler than the body temperature. Wearing tight underwear gets the testicles close to the body and increases their temperature. So, by wearing loose and comfortable underwear, you can improve sperm count.
Limit the use of laptops and cellphones
Studies have shown a direct relationship between using a laptop connected to Wi-Fi and the reduction of sperm count. Also, putting the cell phone in the pants’ pocket exposes the testicles to electromagnetic waves and weakens the sperm. Therefore, it is better to reduce the use of electromagnetic devices to boost sperm count.
Do pelvic tilting exercises.
Pelvic tilting exercises include contracting and releasing the muscles of the lower pelvis. These exercises do not affect the number and quality of sperm but can increase the speed of ejaculation.
Avoid drinking alcohol
The best low sperm count treatment is to have a healthy lifestyle. Alcohol increases the level of estrogen in the body by affecting the liver. Also, it reduces sexual drive and, as a result, the number of sperms.
Take vitamin and dietary supplements.
Some supplements containing vitamins and antioxidants such as carnitine, folic acid, arginine, vitamin E, selenium, vitamin C, glutathione, coenzyme Q10, I-carnitine, and lycopene can improve the quality and quantity of sperms.
Antioxidants contain minerals and vitamins that prevent damage to the body by inactivating free radicals. Vitamin C can also be found in oranges, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach. Watermelon and all red fruits and vegetables also contain lycopene and can increase sperm count.
Have a proper diet
Having a nutrient diet affects sperm production and its quality. Eating low-fat foods, dishes rich in carbohydrates and protein, vegetables, and whole grains can improve weak sperm and boost sperm count.
Avoid chemical exposure
Some chemicals in the workplace, the air, or even personal care products can be a risk factor for fertility. These chemicals that should be avoided are lead (in pipes, paint, and dust), styrene and acetone (in plastics, packaging materials, and building materials), mercury vapour (in industrial particles and metals), and dibromo chloropropane (in pesticides).
Avoid long-distance cycling
Long-distance cycling reduces the number of normal sperm and, thus, reduces male fertility. This is due to an increase in the temperature of the testicles in the tight clothes of cyclists.
Prevent sexually transmitted diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, testicular infection, prostate gland infection, etc., reduce the quantity and quality of sperm. To prevent these diseases and improve your sperm count, you should use standard protections during sexual intercourse and make sure that your partner does not have STDs. It should be noted that some tests to diagnose these diseases must be taken regularly, especially when having multiple sex partners.
Lose some pounds
Obesity is one of the main causes of low sperm count, low sperm motility, and low semen concentration. So, if your BMI is higher than 30, you should lose a few pounds by exercising and maintaining a healthy diet to improve your sperm parameters.
Keep your testicles cool.
It is necessary to keep your testicles cool during the day, To have more and healthier sperm. To do so, avoid using car seat heaters for a long time, wear cotton and breathable underwear, do not put the laptop on your lap, and take short walks during the day, especially if you have a desk job.
Treat your underlying medical diseases.
Some medical conditions, such as infection of the reproductive system or urinary tract, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, anemia, thyroid disease, and Cushing's syndrome, can cause male infertility. So, it is recommended to have yearly check-ups and treat these diseases before trying to conceive.
Foods that Increase Sperm Count
To have healthy sperm and increase sperm count, it is necessary to have a nutritious diet. In the following, foods that minimize male infertility factors are introduced:
- Garlic for increasing sperm motility and protecting the sperm;
- Walnuts for increasing sperm life;
- Egg for inactivating free radicals in blood;
- Pumpkin seed for balancing testosterone levels;
- Spinach for improving sperm’s shape;
- Asparagus for protecting sperm against free radicals;
- Carrot for increasing sperm count and motility;
- Maca root for increasing sperm count and motility, as well as sexual drive;
- Green tea for eliminating free radicals;
- Ginseng to increase sperm production and sexual potency;
- Dark chocolate for increasing sperm counts and semen volume;
- Zinc to increase the quantity and quality of sperm;
- Hawthorn for keeping the temperature of the scrotum normal and preventing the destruction of sperm due to high temperatures;
- Pomegranate for boosting sperm count; and
- Honey for increasing sperm count and motility.
Medicines to Increase Sperm Count and Motility
- LH and FSH hormones: these hormones stimulate the testicles to produce sperm.
- Gonadotropins (HCG): this drug stimulates the testicles to produce testosterone and sperm.
- Letrozole: it increases sperm count in the body by increasing testosterone.
- Synthetic testosterone: it is used to regulate the body's testosterone level.
- Bromocriptine controls testosterone levels by controlling the secretion of prolactin in the body.
- Antibiotics and antifungal drugs: these drugs are used to treat a variety of genital infections.
- Imipramine: it is prescribed to treat retrograde ejaculation.
- Clomiphene: clomiphene increases sperm count, balances testosterone levels, and increases sperm motility.
- Semenex: having a variety of vitamins (especially vitamin E) and amino acids (such as arginine and L – carnitine), this medicine is one of the best medications for low sperm count treatment. The advantage of this drug is that it has minor side effects.
Different Treatments for Low Sperm Count
the type of low sperm count treatment depends on the cause of it. For example, antibiotics are used to treat sperm disorders caused by infection, and surgery is an excellent way to treat varicocele. Taking hormonal medications or using assisted reproductive techniques (ART) are other ways to deal with male infertility caused by weak sperm.
Sperm Injection (ICSI)
One of the most common fertility treatments is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in which a healthy and motile sperm is directly injected into the egg. After fertilization, the resulting embryo is transferred to the mother's uterus.
It is noteworthy that the microinjection (ICSI) method is used when the male partner suffers from azoospermia or the number of sperms in his semen sample is very low. Also, before starting this treatment, sperm disorders, along with the possibility of transmitting genetic disorders to the embryo, should be examined by the doctor.
Another treatment for low sperm count is the injection of gonadotropin (a hormone that stimulates sperm production). If the hormones are completely balanced, or the cause of low sperm count is not identified, this method will not be used.
One of the latest treatments for infertility caused by low sperm count is donated sperm. In this method (IVF), healthy and motile sperm is received from a donor and then directly injected into an egg in the laboratory. After fertilization, the resulting embryo is transferred into the mother’s womb using a narrow tube. It is worth mentioning that the sperm donor should be similar to the infertile couple in terms of appearance and genetic characteristics.
If the cause of low sperm count is the male reproductive system infection, the doctor prescribes antibiotics to cure it. The important point about treating infection is that the entire course of antibiotics should be taken on time.
Treating sexual problems
In cases where the cause of male infertility is sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, the doctor prescribes medications to treat them and asks the couple to get help from a counselor.
There are three main surgeries to treat low sperm count; varicocelectomy when there is a large and swollen vein in the ball sac; surgical removal of the blockage in the vas deferens; and sperm aspiration when there is no sperm in the semen sample.
In summary, low sperm count (oligospermia) is one of the leading causes of male infertility in today’s world. Factors such as smoking, varicocele, prostate cancer, taking specific medication, poor diet, and obesity can reduce sperm count. Fortunately, various low sperm count treatments include ICSI, IVF, sperm donation, and hormonal medications.
As one of the main hubs in fertility treatment, Iran has the best fertility clinics in the world where you can benefit from standard facilities and technologies.
Raadina Co. offers customized and affordable infertility treatment packages for couples willing to receive fertility treatment in Iran. Raadina Team provides you with services such as booking appointments with fertility clinics and specialists, applying for a medical visa, booking a hotel at affordable prices, providing 24/7 support before and during the treatment, and arranging transportation in Iran.
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