Did you know that nearly 50% of all infertility cases are male factor related? While some diagnoses are complex and may require advanced medical treatment or even surgery, there are a few steps you can take to improve your chances of success. Urologist, Dr. Rodrigo Pagani, shared 7 ways to optimize male fertility:
1. Don’t smoke
This includes cigarettes, marijuana, or anything. Smoking can decrease the count and affect the shape and movement of your sperm cells.
Note: sperm is made continuously, so it can take 2.5-3 months to mature. If you quit smoking, your sperm parameters can improve after that time period.
2. Maintain a healthy diet
Obesity can lead to hormonal issues and increased heat in the testis, which can affect your sperm production. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a nutritious diet (including foods rich in antioxidants) can improve your sperm health.
3. Ejaculate frequently
Ejaculating frequently helps decrease your sperm DNA fragmentation. It is recommended that you ejaculate at least 3 times a week.
4. Avoid hot tubs and saunas
Sperm health may be temporarily affected by frequent, direct, and long exposure to heat. Limit your time in saunas and hot tubs and place a barrier between a laptop and your lap to help reduce this risk.
5. If you consume alcohol, do it in moderation
You can enjoy a drink or two, but don’t over do it. Consuming large quantities of alcohol can affect your sperm health. Excessive drinking is also linked to erectile dysfunction which lowers your chances of success.
6. Take the right vitamins and supplements
There are vitamins and supplements that may help improve some of your sperm parameters. Speak to your provider to see if there are any that are right for you.
7. Look out for physical signs that may indicate a problem
Some patients may feel something described as a “bag of worms” in their scrotum which can indicate a condition called varicocele. Others may feel that their testicles are too small which may be a sign of low sperm production.
It is important to note that infertility can also be asymptomatic.
If you feel anything unusual during a self-exam or have been trying to conceive for 6 months or longer, it is time to see a reproductive urologist or a fertility specialist.