BLOG SERIES PART 9: ACUPUNCTURE IMPROVES SPERM

acupuncture-improves-sperm

Acupuncture improves sperm

Men may be overlooked when trying to conceive proves unsuccessful, but the unfortunate truth is that male factors contribute to about 50% of fertility issues. This may be due to women seeking testing and treatment first with their gynecologist. If there is still no success, then the focus will eventually shift to men if there is no conception.  Male fertility is primarily assessed via sperm analysis. If there is an issue with the sperm, acupuncture can help. Acupuncture can increase sperm counts, improve the ability of sperm to move (motility), improve the shapes of the sperm (morphology), and dissolve small varicoceles (blockages in the testicles). Quite simply, acupuncture improves male fertility.

Sperm, meet egg.

Having a healthy baby starts with conception from two healthy sex cells, the female egg and the male sperm meeting at the right moment. The release of sperm during intercourse must occur early enough to allow the sperm to travel the distance needed. Healthy and resilient sperm are require to charge through the fallopian tube toward the egg as it emerges from the ovary. Exceptionally motile (the fastest) sperm can make the trip in 45 minutes, while less motile (slower) can take up to 72 hours. The sperm then needs to be able to penetrate and fertilize the egg. Having enough, motile, and normally shaped sperm is essential to conception.

An indefatigable source?

While the weight of testing and interventions often fall on the woman, more and more evidence suggests that sperm health is also important. Throughout their lifetime, men are constantly creating new sperm and one full sperm development cycle takes about 75-90 days. This is in stark contrast to women who are born with the total number of eggs. It is possible for older men to impregnate a fertile woman, but the DNA quality of the sperm may be affected by any number of factors. Paternal age is implicated in DNA chromatin abnormality, as well as increased risk of miscarriage. Sperm can also be affected by hormonal imbalance, obstructions in the testicles, or genetic abnormalities. Other influential factors to sperm quality include diet, weight, metabolic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, certain medications, smoking, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, exposure to environmental hazards like cell phone radiation, toxic chemicals, heat, and certainly not least, psychological stress. All of these can affect sperm quality.

Acupuncture improves sperm

If male factor is an issue contributing to your fertility challenges, we suggest including the male partner in the treatment plan. A typical treatment plan to support male fertility includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, lifestyle, and dietary recommendations for approximately three months.  We then suggest you return to your physician for a follow up sperm analysis to assess any changes. Counts and motility often respond quite well to acupuncture, diet, and lifestyle recommendations, and in some cases, Chinese herbs are also recommended. Morphology and/or varicocele are almost always treated with herbs, diet, and lifestyle recommendations. The key to success is consistent treatment during a full sperm development cycle. A sperm analysis within the last three months prior to the initial visit with the acupuncturist is best.

What you can do now

We are proactive here at Portland Acupuncture Studio. So, here are three things you can do right now to help improve your sperm quality.

  1. If you smoke, do your best to stop. Smoking has many health risks in addition to lung cancer. One of which is the negative impact it has on sperm. The addition of acupuncture to a smoking cessation plan can help ease cravings and help you stop for good.
  2. Carry your cell phone away from your front pants pocket. In several observational studies, men who carried their cell phone in the front pocket or on their waist had significantly less sperm, and poorer morphology than those who did not.
  3. Avoid excess heat to the groin area. Hot tubs, Jacuzzi, steam baths, or laptops that run warm, all can have a negative impact on sperm. Avoid them and put something between your lap and your laptop.

Want more information? Contact us. For updates, add this blog to your blog feeder, follow us on twitter or Google+, or like us on Facebook. For previous entries in this series, here’s parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, and 8.

Photo by Coleys Locket. Use authorized by Creative Commons.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditShare on Facebook

About lhrubin

I am a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine specializing in fertility, adjuvant IVF support, general women's health, and pelvic pain. I am also a clinical researcher and academic. You can read more about me and my work in my bio