Low Sperm Count - Causes and Natural Treatment Options
What is Low Sperm Count?
Low sperm count means that, when tested, the total amount of sperm in your semen is below a certain amount. The World Health Organization guidelines define low sperm count as having less than 15 million sperm in a milliliter of semen (15 million/ml).
Having low sperm count means you have lower odds of fertilizing your partner's egg. It's true that you only need one sperm to fertilize the egg. Though to make it through the female reproductive system, you need a lot more than a single sperm.
Getting Pregnant With Low Sperm CountIf you don't get pregnant in the first couple of months of trying to conceive, don't worry. The statistics show that, for some couples, it just takes a bit longer to get pregnant.
- 20% will conceive within one month
- 70% will conceive within six months
- 85% will conceive within one year
Seeing A Fertility Specialist
It is hard to let nature take its course when you have a baby on the brain. Fertility specialists usually want to see you after you've tried for a year. You can schedule an appointment at the 6-month mark if you are over 35.
You can do many things without needing a doctor's help to improve your sperm health. Your lifestyle has a significant effect on your sperm health.
Environmental Causes of Low Sperm Count
- Chemical Exposure - Daily exposure to industrial chemicals used on the job can lead to a lower sperm count. Working with pesticides, solvents, or heavy metals can damage your sperm health.
- Overheating Your Testicles - Your sperm prefer a cooler than body temperature environment. Wearing tight pants or underwear can raise the temperature of your testicles. The increased heat may cause your sperm count to suffer. Sitting for long times will also increase testicle temperature. If you are trying to get pregnant, you might also want to avoid saunas and hot tubs for the same reason.
- X-rays - If possible, ALWAYS use a protective apron if you need x-rays. The apron will protect your sperm and sperm-producing organs from the damaging effects. Failure to do this can cause a dramatic, long-lasting decrease in sperm count.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Sperm Health
What you do and eat daily is directly related to your fertility. Keep in mind, unless you have a medical cause for your low sperm count, the daily changes you make will take 2 to 3 months to improve your sperm health.
- Exercise Regularly - If you are a couch potato, your fertility can suffer. Research showsExercise helps balance your hormones (yes, men have fertility-related hormones, too) and help improve your sperm count (and other aspects of your sperm too!).
- Quit Smoking - You already know that smoking isn't good for your health. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and many other diseases. Smoking can also cause a lowered sperm count and harm sperm health. Low count and low sperm quality make it more difficult for your sperm to fertilize your partner's egg. Oh, and let's not forget how your smoking affects your partner's fertility. Research has shown that exposure to secondhand smoke can cause fertility problems and earlier onset of menopause in women.
- Check Your Medications - Anabolic steroids, antibiotics and certain medications used to control conditions like high blood pressure, ADHD and antidepressants can reduce your fertility. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the effects of your medications on your fertility.
- Take Natural Supplements to Boost Sperm Health - Adding nutritional supplements that are proven to improve your sperm health can improve your chances of getting pregnant.
The most helpful supplemental nutrients that help improve your sperm are Vitamin C (at least 2,000 mg a day), Zinc (66-200 mg per day) and Folic Acid (5,000 mcg per day).
Vitamin C helps improve the motility and morphology of the sperm. Zinc, when taken with the folic acid, has been shown to increase sperm count and improve sperm motility and improve the sperm's ability to fertilize the egg.
- De-Stress - Extreme and long-term stress can cause the hormones required for healthy sperm production to become unbalanced. Balance your mind, and your body will go in the direction of balance as well.
Health Eating can Lead to Healthy Sperm
Focus on eating foods that ensure your body has the right amount of sperm friendly nutrients. You can buy most of these nutrients in supplement form. Your body will benefit more if you try and incorporate them into your daily diet.
The nutrients listed below help improve sperm count and male fertility. To receive sperm count friendly benefits, you should stick with organic, grass-fed, and wild caught food whenever possible.
What to Eat to Improve Sperm HealthVitamin C
Bell Peppers (All colors), Guavas, Dark Leafy Green Vegetables (Kale and Spinach for example), Kiwifruit, Broccoli, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Peas, Papaya, Chili Peppers, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, and Mango
Beef, Shrimp, Spinach, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Oysters, Lima Beans, Kidney Beans, Egg Yolks, Turkey, Salmon, Dark Chocolate, and Beef Liver
Turkey, Chicken, Pork Loin, Pumpkin Seeds, Peanuts, Dairy, Chick Peas, Lentils, and All Types of Seafood
Beef, Pork, and Whole Milk
Essential Fatty Acids
Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Flax Seeds, Almonds, Walnuts, Eggs, and Dark Green Vegetables
Whole Grains, Broccoli, Potatoes, Raw Tomatoes, Green Beans, Barley, and Oats
Tuna, Shrimp, Sardines, Turkey, Chicken, Lamb, Beef, Brazil Nuts, Eggs, and Spinach
Dark Leafy Greens, Broccoli, Citrus Fruits, Beans, Peas, Lentils, Brussel Sprouts, Sunflower Seeds, and Peanuts
Sunflower Seeds, Lentils, Almonds, Dark Chocolate, Mushrooms, Beef Liver, and Oysters
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Beef, Chicken, Salmon, Herring, Tuna, Soybean Oil, and Canola Oil
Goji Berries, Dark Chocolate, Kidney Beans, Berries, Pinto Beans, Sweet Cherries, Apples, Red or Purple Grapes, and Sweet Potatoes
Supplements for Improved Sperm CountIt should be easy to increase your daily intake of these sperm friendly foods. Unfortunately, changing the way you eat isn't as easy as it sounds. Adding a fertility supplement might give you the added nutrient boost that you need to improve your count. FertilAid for Men and Countboost are two of the best selling male fertility supplements on the market. These supplements include proven nutrients for improving sperm count and sperm health.
How To Get Your Sperm Count Checked
If a doctor's visit is daunting, you can take an at at-home sperm count test. These tests let you assess your sperm count in the comfort of your own home. It will only let you know about sperm count. The test will not alert you if there are any problems with sperm motility or morphology. You may discover that the sperm count appears normal with the at-home test, awesome! However, that doesn't mean you are off the hook. All it says is that sperm count may not be the issue.
A fertility doctor visit should be your next diagnostic step. Many men are hesitant to get a semen analysis done. Unfortunately, it's the only way to find out if you are the reason why you and your partner not getting pregnant. You are going to have to "Suck it up, Buttercup!" and get the testing done if having a baby is important to you and your partner.
Summing It All Up:If you are trying to get pregnant and have low sperm count, these changes may help you achieve your dream.
- Visit a fertility specialist if you have been trying to conceive for over a year.
- Check what you do and eat every day. Make changes if you have sperm harming activities or food intake.
- Eat healthy foods with nutrients that support healthy sperm count and male fertility.
- Take a fertility supplement with ingredients that help improve sperm count.
- Asare-Anane H, Bannison SB, Ofori EK, Ateko RO, Bawah AT, Amanquah SD, Oppong SY, Gandau BB, Ziem JB. Tobacco smoking is associated with decreased semen quality. Reprod Health. 2016 Aug 5;13(1):90. doi: 10.1186/s12978-016-0207-z. PubMed PMID: 27496053; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4974764.
- Kobori Y, Ota S, Sato R, Yagi H, Soh S, Arai G, Okada H. Antioxidant cosupplementation therapy with vitamin C, vitamin E, and coenzyme Q10 in patients with oligoasthenozoospermia. Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2014 Mar 28;86(1):1-4. doi: 10.4081/aiua.2014.1.1. PubMed PMID: 24704922.
- Safarinejad MR, Safarinejad S, Shafiei N, Safarinejad S. Effects of the reduced form of coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinol) on semen parameters in men with idiopathic infertility: a double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized study. J Urol. 2012 Aug;188(2):526-31. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2012.03.131. PubMed PMID: 22704112.