Infertility, a condition of the reproductive system that prevents the conception of children after regular intercourse for a period of one year without the use of any contraceptive, may arise from different health conditions which can make getting pregnant difficult.
Semen is a rite of passage for men. It is a tell-tale sign of being very virile and masculine. It marks the climax of a very happy sexual encounter. The man has a powerful orgasm and the woman is there to witness the power of that orgasm. Semen is needed in both of these examples and without the right amount and quality, everything falls apart. The man is not able to impregnate his wife or have the powerful orgasm that both he and his partner want him to experience.
Studies show that the semen of the average man today has half the normal sperm, and is of poorer quality, than 50 years ago. This is believed to be caused by exposure to xenoestrogens (PCBs, DDT, dioxin, other pesticides, plastics and industrial pollutants) that mimic the effects of oestrogen.
Research shows that there are plenty of men who are having a hard time impregnating their wives because their sperm count is too low. Although it is often blamed on the female when a couple is not able to conceive, men can also have fertility problems if their sperm count is too low, according to the Journal complete source for natural health and wellness (ALIVE)
Dr Luqman Olaniran, general medical practitioner, Teju Specialist Hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan, said low sperm count or poor sperm quality may be due to environmental toxins such as chemicals, radiation, drugs, heavy metal exposure from soaps and creams, cigarette smoking and alcohol.
Heat can reduce sperm production; sitting for long periods of time and wearing of tight-fitting underwear that constricts the testes can also elevate temperatures long enough to suppress sperm production.
According to Dr Hudson Ogidi, Medical Director, King's Hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan, Oyo State, wearing of nylon or tight underwear can cause heat for the scrotum, thereby pressing the testes and causing an increase in the temperature which affects the sperm quality. The impact of Xenoestrogens can be prevented or minimised by doing the following:
· Reduce chemical exposure;
*Use office paper products whitened without chlorine.
*Use only non-bleached coffee filters, paper, napkins and toilet tissue to reduce dioxin exposure.
*Eat organic food as much as possible to avoid pesticides and herbicides.
*Avoid synthetic deodorants and cosmetics; use only organic products whenever possible.
*Avoid animal products with a high fat content that contain hormones, especially conventional milk and dairy products.
*Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
*Avoid fried, charcoal-broiled or barbecued forms of cooking.
*Eat lots of foods high in antioxidants (carotenes, vitamins A, C, E and selenium) such as green leafy vegetables, kale, carrots, citrus, broccoli, cauliflower and yams.
Dr Ogidi stated that vitamin E enhances the production of good quality spermatozoa and improving the diet by consuming more vegetables and fruits will also boost good quality sperm production.
*Getting plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can help boost fertility.
*Avoid tobacco, refined carbohydrates, coffee, tea, alcohol and foods with artificial additives.
*Maintain an ideal weight. Food deprivation in men leads to loss of sex drive and structural changes to reproductive tissue leading to infertility.
Obesity, on the other hand, can be associated with a low sperm count and impotence, possibly because of higher temperatures caused by excess fat near the testes.
According to American Society of Reproductive Medicine, regular exercise (five times a week for at least 45 minutes) and a healthy diet enhance fertility by keeping body weight at normal levels and relieving stress and anxiety.
Take nutritional supplements
For men, the most important supplemental nutrients to enhance fertility are vitamin C and zinc. Vitamin C helps prevent sperm from clumping or sticking together, thus improving the chances for fertility.
Zinc supplementation has been shown to increase testosterone levels, sperm count and sperm motility. High zinc sources include oysters, organ meats, lean beef, turkey, lamb, herring, wheat germ, legumes and nuts.
Banana: Another sexual super food is a rich source of magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin A, vitamin C, and protein, which are required to improve and stimulate the production of more sperm. This fruit is also rich in vitamin B and Bromelain, which are powerful sexual hormone regulators that can help to enhance sexual virility. Try to include banana in your daily diet. You can also prepare banana shake and smoothie to enjoy its benefits.
Expert say sometimes, female infertility is related to a hormonal imbalance. In this case, symptoms can also include skin changes, including more frequent acne; changes in sex drive and desire; dark hair growth in man-like places (hirsutism), such as on the lips, chest and chin; loss of hair or thinning hair; weight gain. Other symptoms that may result from disorders linked to infertility include insulin resistance, milky white discharge from nipples unrelated to breastfeeding, pain during sexual intercourse, structural problem in the reproductive organs which is found during a pelvic exam or imaging test. Infertility symptoms in men can be vague; they may go unnoticed until pregnancy is attempted. Symptoms depend on what is causing the infertility. They may include: changes in hair growth, changes in sexual desire, low sperm count, pain, lump, or swelling in the testicles, problems with sexual function (erection and ejaculation), small firm testes.
Following some of the suggestions given below can help in boosting sperm count and thereby the chances of conception. They are:
Cut down on unhealthy habits: It has been medically proven that alcohol and smoking are the main causes for male infertility. Nicotine as well as alcohol inhibits the production of healthy sperms. Men who consume drugs along with alcohol and smoke are at a higher risk of infertility. It is advised to seek professional help to fight such problems.
Take control of stress levels: Stress, depression and other heart ailments are some of the other causes for male infertility and low sperm count. Heredity could be another reason. Tensions at the work place and other personal problems may cause depression which can also lead to male infertility.
Studies have shown that men who drive continuously for long periods of time or men who sit for hours together on the computer need to take a break every half an hour. In case this is not practical, they need to do some exercise with extended breaks.
Dr Hudson Ogidi, said sedentary jobs increases the risk of infertility because during sitting, the thigh area gets warmer and the damage takes place. Driving for too long can increase the risk of infertility in men because it causes increase in temperature of the scrotum, compress the testes and it does not allow enough air to go into the area. Professional drivers are also at a greater risk of developing infertility related problems.
He, therefore, advised that men take a break during work to stretch and move around for air and also avoid long distance drive.
Dr Luqman Olaniran also advised that everyone go as natural as possible, avoid industrial based foods, eat more vegetables, fruits and water and also avoid tobacco smoking and infections should be taken care of as soon as possible.
Therefore, simple and practical changes introduced in the lifestyle can go a long way to fight the problems of infertility.