Male infertility comes in several forms and has several causes. This is a condition that can benefit very much from Chinese Medicine. Several common types of male infertility are Tetratospermia (abnormal sperm morphology), Asthenozoospermia (reduced sperm motility), Oligospermia (decreased number of sperm), Azoospermia (absence of sperm cells), Spermophlebectasia ( varicose vein ) and antisperm antibodies. These common conditions are very treatable with Chinese Medicine. Causes such as trauma, radiation and drug use may need the assistance of a western medical approach.
The goal of Chinese Medicine is to maintain reproductive energy while treating the symptoms related to the infertility. Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Formulations, Diet and Lifestyle all play a major role in promoting fertility and reversing infertility. After a brief medical history to determine the cause of the infertility a course of treatment may be as simple as lifestyle changes or as involved as lifestyle changes with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Formulas.
Chinese Medicine has been used for hundreds of years to correct the imbalances causing infertility. A select group of acupuncture points can redirect Qi (energy) to key points in the body to help assist the smooth flow of blood to the penis and scrotum. Treatment plans range anywhere from 3 to 10 visits depending on the severity of the condition. A Chinese Herbal Formula may be recommended for 2-3 months before conception and taken throughout the first trimester of pregnancy to increase volume, motility and morphology.
Lifestyle changes can have a dramatic role in treating male infertility. Simple steps can be taken to increase the health of sperm. Try to limit the frequency of masturbation and avoid tight fitting underwear. An increase in testicular temperature can have adverse effects on sperm production. Exposure to environmental toxins, smoking, high levels of stress, lack of sleep, certain types of medications and recreational drug use all lead to abnormal sperm cells. Regular exercise, Yoga and meditation can help balance the stress of daily life. Studies have shown that just 30 minutes a day of meditation or yoga help lower blood pressure and increase libido.
The first and most essential step in increasing fertility is through diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meats all support healthy immune function and sperm production. Organic and free range foods have the least exposure to environmental toxins. Try to eat seasonally. When eating seasonally the body can acclimate much easier to seasonal stress’s such as the heat of summer, dryness of the fall, cold of winter and dampness of the spring. Try to avoid too much caffeine, refined sugars, fried foods and hot sauce. Remember, moderation is the key to health and longevity.
Change takes time. It takes a sperm cell between 50-70 days to mature. The sooner lifestyle changes are made the sooner sperm will benefit. It is important to understand that when trying to get pregnant, treatment may be necessary through the first trimester of pregnancy. If a pregnancy loss was to occur, healthy sperm needs to be available for conception. Take the time to find local resources. Talk to an acupuncturist in your area, visit farmers markets or join a Yoga class. Making small daily changes will lead to large life changes in time.
~~~ Donald J. Clarke is an Acupuncturist at CNY Healing Arts. He specializes in Male and Female Fertility. He will be giving a talk at Syracuse CNY Healing Arts on October 9th from 1:00-2:00 on the topic of male fertility. For more information please call 315.671.5755.
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