Fertility problems affect roughly 10% of couples today. There are a number of health problems that men and women may face that contribute to their inability to conceive. Typically men are tested first because the process of analyzing sperm count and motility is very quick and non-invasive. A healthy male should have greater than 15-million sperm per milliliter of semen. Less sperm count makes it difficult for an egg to become fertilized. There are a number of factors which cause low sperm count.
What Men Should Avoid to Have Normal Sperm Production
Normal sperm production can be hindered if you do not avoid the following:
Many men fail to realize that the heat from something as small as a laptop can actually reduce sperm production. It is recommended that men avoid hot tubs, steam baths, saunas, and even extensive bike riding which can increase the temperature of their genital region.
Studies on the impact of smoking cigars, cigarettes, and marijuana reveal that heavy use contributes to low testosterone levels which then cause abnormal sperm count and shape.
3. Heavy Drinking
There is not currently any hard evidence against drinking alcohol but physicians agree that moderation is the key as too much alcohol can have a negative impact to reproductive health.
Obesity can cause hormonal imbalances in the body, which is likely to impact sperm production. In fact, a 2012 study revealed that men who were overweight had 43% lower sperm count than those who were of healthy weight.
Thick lubricants such as those found at drug stores can slow down sperm movement during intercourse. Natural oils like safflower oil are considered a better option to prevent this. Consult your physician about the best lubricant options for sperm motility.
What men should avoid to have normal sperm production? Stress causes fluctuations in the body's hormones. These fluctuations are likely to hinder the production of sperm.
7. Certain Medications
Medications used to enhance performance such as anti-androgens and steroids, as well as calcium channel blockers and any medication used to treat cancer is likely to cause fertility issues. If possible, these should also be avoided.
Phthalates are a substance used in body and skin care products. Over the course of the last decade, multiple studies have linked this substance to low sperm count and motility, as well as abnormal shape.
9. Carrying Cellphones Near Your Waist
Radiation from mobile devices is no secret today. Some studies have indicated that individuals who regularly carry their cellphone near their waist have up to 11% fewer sperm than those who do not.
Do I Have Normal Sperm Production?
After tackling the list of what men should avoid to have normal sperm production, many men question whether they have normal sperm production. The range for normal sperm product is vast–ranging from 15 million to 200 million swimmers per milliliter of semen. Anything less than 39 million sperm per ejaculate is considered low sperm count. In addition to sperm count, physicians will also look at motility as low motility can also lead to difficulties conceiving.
When to See a Doctor
Conceiving a child can take time, therefore it is important to be patient with the process. If you have been actively trying for at least 12 months with no success, then it may be time to see a physician. Men who experience discomfort or swelling of the testicles, have had any type of groin/penis surgery, suffer from low sex drive, or have a history of prostate problems should also seek medical assistance.
Can I Test My Sperm Count At Home?
If you have done all of what men should avoid to have normal sperm production and still believe there may be an issue, you can complete an at home sperm count test. It is believed that this test is as effective as medical lab testing, 95% of the time. To complete the test, a man will ejaculate into a collection cup and follow the instructions to insert the semen into the testing device. If your sperm count comes back within normal range but you still believe it may be an issue, then you can visit a physician to test for additional factors such as sperm concentration, semen volume, sperm shape, motility, and vitality.
Natural Ways to Improve Sperm Quality
Patients can naturally improve sperm quality by making some basic lifestyle and dietary changes.
1. Balanced Diet
The ideal diet for dads-to-be should be rich in nutritious whole foods, including whole grain carbohydrates, lean protein sources such as turkey, chicken, and salmon, low-fat dairy, and a high concentration of fruits and vegetables.
2. Zinc & Selenium
These two vital nutrients help the body maintain normal sperm motility. Low levels of these can be troublesome if you are trying to conceive.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is naturally produced in the body as a response to sunlight. Foods containing Vitamin D should be added to the diet to improve sperm movement.
Also known as Vitamin B9, folate is important for the health of your sperm.
Antioxidants fight off free radicals in the body which can cause other health related issues including misshaped sperm. Increase antioxidants by adding Vitamins C and E to your diet.
6. Weight Control
A healthy weight is essential to resolving nearly all health problems. Men should maintain their weight through regular exercise and a healthy diet.