We spend years planning the best time to have children, and when we finally decide it is time and start trying to conceive, we find out that it may not be so easy after all. Does this sound familiar?
Are you and your partner experiencing fertility problems? You are not alone. Unfortunately, this issue is more common than you’d think. Studies estimate that one in every six couples experiences infertility. Every three cases are due to male fertility problems.
It is common to see a lot of information about infertility in women and the available treatments. However, male infertility is not addressed as frequently, although it should be.
Depending on the causes, infertility can be treated. However, some strategies can help boost your fertility and increase sperm count. Sperm count refers to the average number of sperm cells in one sample of semen. By analyzing your semen, your doctor can determine whether or not it plays a factor in your infertility.
A healthy diet, supplements, and other lifestyle changes can increase sperm count and boost fertility naturally in some situations.
Here are 10 ways to increase male fertility and improve sperm health:
1. Exercise regularly and sleep
Exercising regularly is good for overall health, but especially to boost testosterone levels and improve fertility. In addition, men who exercise tend to develop better semen quality than inactive men. Understand, however, that too much exercise is not good at all – it may have the opposite effect and reduce testosterone levels.
If you don’t have an exercise habit but still want to improve your fertility, try implementing workouts in your daily life.
Sleeping seven to eight hours a night is essential to a healthy life. When you sleep better, you’ll feel more relaxed and capable of exercising, for example.
2. Quit smoking
Tobacco causes men to have lower sperm quality, decreasing fertility levels. Smoking also affects sperm counts, mobility and shape.
Consider stopping smoking if you have fertility issues, even if you’re already undergoing fertility treatments. Cigarettes have a strong and negative effect on treatment success.
3. Limit alcohol consumption and drug use
Alcohol abuse impacts sperm health. Excessive alcohol consumption is often associated with lower sperm counts, fewer normally shaped sperm cells, and worse sperm mobility. Therefore, if you are trying to conceive, it’d be better to reduce or stop alcohol consumption.
Though sporadic drinking may not bring you any consequences, you should be more careful in cases of proven infertility because the causes can come from multiple factors.
Some drugs like cocaine and cannabis are also known to decrease sperm production, damage sperm quality and reduce male fertility.
4. Get enough vitamin D
Blood levels of vitamin D and calcium can impact sperm health:
- Vitamin D is a rich nutrient that can boost testosterone levels, which is very important for male fertility.
- Calcium deficiency can adversely influence sperm count.
Women should also get enough vitamin D to improve their fertility.
5. Eat more antioxidant-rich foods
Some studies have shown that a diet with antioxidant-rich foods can positively impact sperm count.
If you have trouble conceiving, you should consider taking some antioxidants in supplement form to increase your chances.
Many antioxidants have a strong action on overall health. However, the following are some potentials to improve sperm health:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin C
Try to get these nutrients through food. If you can’t, opt for supplements. However, moderation is key.
6. Relax and reduce stress
It is normal that your stress levels have increased lately. It is not easy to cope with infertility, but you should know that stress may worsen your sperm health.
When your stress levels increase, your sexual satisfaction decreases and impairs fertility. This happens because when you’re under stress, your cortisol levels increase, which affects your testosterone levels in return. When cortisol goes up, testosterone levels tend to go down.
You can manage your stress with meditation, yoga or nature walks. Practice your deep breathing and take the time to relax.
7. Avoid toxic chemicals
Research shows that professions such as farmers, painters and varnishers can affect male fertility and sperm health. Metalworkers and welders were also identified as professionals with a higher incidence of poor sperm mobility. This is because, in these jobs, people are exposed to chemicals, which may damage sperm. Besides, metalworkers and other professionals experience overheating, which can lower sperm counts.
If you’re planning a pregnancy and your job involves working in a hot environment, take regular breaks outside.
8. Keep a healthy diet
Some food has the particularity to boost your energy – a balanced, healthy diet benefits male fertility.
Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, such as fish and chicken, healthy fats (like olive oil and dry fruits), and complex carbohydrates (like whole grains) in your diet. Limit consumption of refined carbohydrates. What is most nutritious for your entire body is likely the best for your sperm health.
9. Treat underlying medical conditions
Medical conditions and infections such as diabetes, anemia, celiac disease, or thyroid disease can also affect fertility. Untreated infections may also be responsible for sperm mobility reduction.
Pay attention to all signs or symptoms you may have. If you feel retrograde ejaculation, for example, see a doctor or schedule a check-up to analyze your sperm health and fertility levels.
10. Avoid certain prescription medications
Some prescription medications can potentially decrease healthy sperm production, including:
- some antibiotics
- anabolic steroids
- supplementary testosterone
If your fertility has been affected by medication, your sperm count should return to normal or increase once you stop taking it. If you believe that your medication is contributing to your sperm count reduction or affecting your fertility, seek help from a fertility professional.
In conclusion, if you have just found out that you are infertile, you’re not alone. It is time to focus on your health and boost fertility. The methods mentioned above provide you with natural changes that may improve your sperm health and increase your fertility.