Mar 9, 2022 | by Gina Kramp, Medically Reviewed by Dr. Patti Haebe, NMD
A male fertility test may not be as easy to find as an ovulation test or a pregnancy test strip. Although, male hormones such as testosterone level, FSH, or even LH may be off for our partner without us being aware. This is similar to a woman's LH (luteinizing hormone) levels being too low or high for proper functioning . In fact, our male partner may need fertility supplements, certain foods, or medicine to ensure healthy sperm so your chances of getting pregnant can improve. A healthy lifestyle may be the best initial step in improving male fertility.
Tracking your cycles, using ovulation tests and supporting your body in healthy ways are great first steps to start your journey to conception. However, it is important to keep in mind that we as women, are only half of the equation. Male fertility can sometimes be overlooked; especially at the beginning of the TTC process but we are here today to discuss ways to optimize male fertility.
How To Detect Male Infertility?
The best way to determine if male infertility may be a factor in your chances of conceiving is by having your partner get a semen analysis. Below are some of the common abnormalities that may be discovered through this test:
Low Sperm Count: The amount of sperm detected is lower than recommended
Low Motility: The amount of sperm moving efficiently is lower than recommended
Abnormal Morphology: The size and shape of sperm are abnormal
High Round Cell Count: Indicates that unhealthy sperm are detected.
Agglutination: The percentage of motile sperm stuck together in a sample.
Aggregation: The percentage of immotile sperm bound to other immotile sperm, motile sperm, mucus or cellular debris.
Abnormal Semen Analysis… What Can Be Done?
The causes for these issues can vary but many can be improved or fixed with simple lifestyle changes. Below are some recommendations to consider when trying to enhance sperm quality.
- Don’t over-exercise. Although a healthy lifestyle is recommended, intense exercise can affect sperm concentration.
- Reduce or stop the use of drugs, alcohol and smoking. Alcohol consumption, smoking as well as the use of certain drugs such as marijuana can have a negative effect on sperm quality.
- Limit hot tub use, especially during the fertile window. Although occasional use of hot tubs and saunas typically do not affect sperm quality, prolonged heat exposure to the testicles can kill sperm so it is not recommended to use these during the time period you are trying to conceive.
- Wear loose fitting underwear. For the same reasons as hot tubs are not always recommended, tight-fitting underwear and clothing can also raise the testicular temperature and may cause issues with sperm.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Just like with women, studies have shown that obesity can cause male infertility issues.
In general, a healthy lifestyle can help many aspects when trying to conceive and sperm quality is one of them. One additional important factor to keep in mind is that sperm are produced daily and mature in 2-3 months so any positive actions taken now, can assist with future sperm quality down the road.
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