Improving Male Fertility
Simple steps to help sperm quantity and quality
By: Matthew Will, M.D.
Jun 26, 2019
There are a lot of myths about men’s fertility out there. From microwaves to cell phones, boxer briefs and beyond, you’ve probably heard some truths and mistruths about what’s good and bad for your sperm. In honor of Men’s Health Month, we’re shining a spotlight on easy ways men can boost their fertility.
Male infertility is often associated with decreased quality or quantity of sperm. Researchers estimate that at least one in every three cases of reproductive trouble is due to infertility in the man alone.
The good news is that there are many ways to boost male fertility, and many of them are easy and free. Taking steps to boost your or your partner’s fertility can help your family on your journey to parenthood.
Play it cool.
Heat is one of the most widely known hindrances to male fertility. You’ve probably heard that prolonged periods of time in hot bath or jacuzzi can interfere with sperm health. It’s true — the testicles function best at two degrees cooler than the normal human body. In usual conditions, testicles can regulate to optimal temperature on their own. But when submerged in hot water or exposed to other forms of heat, semen production decreases.
You may have heard that anything applying pressure to the testicles will “squeeze” your parts too much and decrease sperm count. Tight pants, spandex shorts or briefs can decrease sperm count, but not because of pressure.
Tight clothing holds the scrotum closer to the body, therefore increasing its temperature. To keep temps cooler down south and keep your sperm count healthy, wear looser, more breathable clothing. If you’re trying to conceive, tight-fitting garments can be counterproductive.
Obesity has many negative impacts on your health, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and infertility. A healthier diet or physical exercise can introduce a myriad of health benefits to men struggling with obesity or being overweight, but it will especially benefit those trying to conceive.
Ask your doctor about starting an exercise program or improving your diet. As your physical fitness increases, your sperm quality and quantity will increase with it. You may even notice your energy and libido increase too, which can help when you and your partner are trying to conceive.
High alcohol consumption has been shown to decrease sperm count. It can impact your chances of reproduction in other ways, too, like acute erectile dysfunction after consuming a large amount of alcohol. If you’re trying to conceive, consider limiting your alcohol at two to four drinks per week.
Find your zen.
This one probably comes as no surprise, and is often a cause of female infertility as well: periods of high stress in your life, marked by elevated cortisol levels, can signal to your body that it’s not a good time to reproduce.
High cortisol levels have been shown to reduce sperm production. If stress seems to be a factor impeding your fertility, consider taking up healthy habits to reduce stress and anxiety levels in your daily life. Yoga, meditation, or reducing caffeine intake can help.
Know when to get help.
While there are many things you can do to boost male fertility, some couples may need medical intervention. If you and your partner haven’t conceived after a year of trying, it may be time to see a fertility specialist.
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