One in 20 men will suffer from a fertility issue due to a low sperm count — or because of sperm with low motility. The quality of sperm can be affected by stress, poor lifestyle habits, age, and genetics. Any one of these factors can cause men to end up with a low sperm count, or with sperm that just aren’t up to snuff for reproduction.
While most of us have a tendency to focus on the number of sperm that are produced, the quality of sperm is just as important. After all, you might have a ton of sperm, but if none of them are capable of making it to the egg, fertilization will never happen. The good news, however, is that a lot of issues with sperm can be reversed by lifestyle changes (or by medical treatment).
So, what can you do to improve your sperm? Here are four tips to help you out:
There are multiple lifestyle factors that have been linked to issues with sperm motility, low sperm count and pregnancy. Excessive drinking, drug use, a BMI that is too high or too low, and emotional stress can all negatively impact the quality of sperm.
Obesity and chronic emotional stress both cause hormonal changes in men, which then lead to a lower quality of sperm. Likewise, the impact of both stress and weight are more dramatic depending on how overweight or stressed you are — and while that news by itself might stress you out, the good news is that if you get your stress (or weight) under control, you can likely improve the quality of your sperm.
If you’re looking to tackle your weight issue with exercise, remember that any activity that constricts the testicles will lower your sperm count — such as cycling. Sperm production happens best at a temperature lower than that of the rest of the human body, so excessive heat can lead to a decrease in sperm production (and quality).
Taking the time to relax and unwind from a busy workday can improve the strength and function of sperm (in addition to the number of sperm produced). Activities such as going to the gym or taking the dog for a walk are a great way to maintain an active lifestyle, unwind, and give the body a chance generate healthier and higher numbers of sperm.
A great way to deal with a low sperm count is to simply have more sex. Having frequent sex — 5-6 times a week — can give your sperm a boost. In a study regarding low sperm count, men who had sex on regular basis proved to have an increased sperm count, as well as better sperm quality, than men who didn’t have sex nearly as often.
Not only is more frequent sex a remedy for a low sperm count, it also increases your chances of fertilization by providing more opportunities for fresh sperm to reach an egg. Not to mention, sex has been proven to reduce stress, which also contributes to healthier and higher quantities of sperm.
While a low sperm count might seem like a hard barrier to pregnancy, TTC couples can counter a low sperm count with the right planning. By understanding a woman’s ovulation cycle, you can figure out her most fertile time, allowing you to plan out the ideal time to have intercourse. In certain studies, this resulted in higher rates of conception than those who do not track their cycle.
Since sperm can live up to six days in a woman’s reproductive tract post-ejaculation, it is also suggested that you have sex a few days before her ovulation cycle starts so that the moment her egg is released, there is an opportunity for fertilization.
While tracking can increase your chances of conception, it’s important to note that if you are struggling with fertility, you should absolutely see a fertility doctor. While calendar tracking can increase your chances, if you are producing no sperm (which is the case for one in 100 men), no amount of planning will help bolster your chances.
A low sperm count doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t achieve conception — it just means you need to do everything you can to help maximize the potential of the sperm you do have. While your first step should always be seeing a fertility doctor, there are smart choices you can make to help your swimmers along.
An easy one is to simply change the lube you are using for sex: some common lubricants are designed for maximum comfort and sexual stimulation, and by doing so, are much thicker, hindering the natural movement of sperm.
Astroglide TTC has created a lubricant that is scientifically designed not to hinder sperm motility. Astroglide TTC is water based, pH balanced and holds a consistency similar to cervical mucous to ensure sperm are able to transition smoothly and accomplish the task at hand regardless of number.
What else do you want to know about low sperm count and pregnancy? Are there any other tips you have experience with? Let us know by tweeting us @AstroglideTTC.