If you’re just finding out that you have a low sperm count, you're not alone. Since 1973, sperm counts within western countries have fallen over 50 percent, which means there is an increasing number of solutions coming from fertility specialists.
It’s important to remember that sperm count simply represents the volume of semen released during sexual activity. For example, if you have less than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen, then your count is considered low.
In terms of the wider population, a 50 percent decrease over the years actually means a decrease from a normal count of 99 million sperm per milliliter to a normal 47 million sperm per milliliter.
Needless to say, there is still hope for maintaining your levels, but only if you know what proactive health initiatives to prioritize in your day-to-day life.
Possible Causes of a Low Sperm Count
There are a variety of reasons why your sperm count may decrease over time. Sperm production in the body requires healthy functioning of the brain, which regulates hormones to communicate with the testicles, thus allowing for successful movement through the reproductive organ. If anything jeopardizes this process, sperm levels will surely be affected.
Here are a few medical, environmental, and health related reasons why your sperm count could be low:
- Infections to the testicles or epididymis
- Tumors that prevent the transfer of hormones or disrupt normal reproductive organ function
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like Gonorrhea or HIV that stifle the flow of semen
- Varicocele, which causes swelling to the veins that help relieve the testicles of fluid
- Prior surgeries, such as hernia repairs, vasectomies, testicular operations, abdominal surgeries, etc.
- Exposure to harmful chemicals or pesticides
- High levels of radiation or frequent x-rays
- Subjecting the testicles to frequent, intense heat, like hot tubs or saunas
- Drug and alcohol use
- Smoking cigarettes
- Stress from work or emotional fatigue
These are all important reasons to explore if you’re experiencing any issues with your sperm levels. Not only can each one can give you some insight into what’s causing your decline, but it can also show you how to reverse your sperm count and lead a healthier lifestyle.
How to Increase Your Sperm Count
The good news is that there are several ways—natural, medicinal, or surgical—to increase your sperm count and regain healthy functionality. Once you can pinpoint your issues with a fertility specialist and begin a treatment plan, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your levels can change.
According to Medical News Today, there are several natural, non-pharmacologic remedies you can implement to increase your sperm count.
- Get Plenty of Rest and Exercise
Studies show that consistent exercise at an increased heart rate up to 3 times a week can improve the volume of sperm in men who battle with obesity and who are above the age of 45 years old. In addition, periods of intense workouts followed by full hours of rest (between 6-8 hours) can help eliminate stress both physically and mentally. Stress has a way of preoccupying the body with anxiety or depression, and too much of it can lower your sexual ability.
- Avoid Smoking, Drinking & Drug Use, and Prescription Medications
Smoking is known to reduce sperm levels—period. Aside from it being terrible for your overall health, several studies show individuals who smoke suffer from reduced sperm counts, among many other heath risks. Alcohol consumption and drug use work in the same respect. Substances that damage the integrity of brain functions and signals to the rest of the body have a direct correlation to your reproductive organs, so refraining from them can significantly improve your reproductive health. In addition, certain prescription drugs are known to lessen sperm levels, so you should limit or stop your intake if at all possible.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
Rather than eating trans fats with high levels of acidity, a good diet to increase your sperm count consists of healthy omega-3s, omega-6s, along with the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods. The omegas will aid in developing strong sperm membranes, while the antioxidants ward off any threats to the integrity of your reproductive cells. Here is a list of antioxidants that have shown improvements to sperm levels. Plus, there is also a list of healthy foods to choose from if you’re not sure where to start!
If natural remedies aren’t showing any improvements, seeking medicinal options may provide you with some positive results. Essentially, fertility medications aim to stimulate hormone and semen production, stabilize blood sugar levels, regulate blood flow, and increase sexual drive. Here is a full list of the most common fertility drugs for men, but be advised: many of these drugs come with side-effects that can cause issues with other parts of the body. It’s always best to consult with your doctor before choosing this treatment option.
After having no success with natural remedies and medications, the last treatment option to consider is to undergo surgery to repair the damaged areas and revitalize sperm levels. Keep in mind, these procedures should only be done after trying other methods with little to no improvements. Surgery of any kind has a level of risk to consider, but operations can prove to be a major benefit in some cases.
Here are common surgical procedures that can help increase your sperm count:
- Sperm Duct Microsurgery
A procedure to remove build-up or blockages from the ductile system of the reproductive organ.
- Varicocele Repair
A mass of knotted veins is blocked off and relieved through a small cut in the lower abdomen. Over 50 percent of cases show increased sperm levels in a 6-month period.
- Microsurgical Sperm Retrieval
For patients who experience issues with their reproductive organs, sperm is surgically extracted from the sperm ducts and used for an intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
- Reverse Vasectomy
This is a procedure to reverse a prior vasectomy operation.
Choosing to undergo surgery to increase your sperm count can be a tough decision to make. However, you should know that speaking with your partner and healthcare professional is a great way to alleviate any confusion about what options are available to you.
Kofinas Fertility Group Is Here to Help
It can be frightening to know that your sperm count has decreased, but thankfully, Kofinas Fertility Group specializes in fertility medicine and is dedicated to alleviating any fertility situations you may face.
We create a specialized treatment plan based on your exact needs with the best healthcare professionals in the industry. That same dedication is what positions us as a leading practice for over 30 years in New York City, having a team of doctors with over 70 years of fertility experience.
Whether you need a consultation to examine your lifestyle habits or are curious about undergoing a surgical procedure, Kofinas Fertility Group can answer all of your questions. More importantly, you can rest assured knowing you’re not alone during your recovery.