Treatments of Male Infertility
Treatment depends on diagnosis. In cases where the FSH and LH are low with a normal head MRI, clomiphene may be of benefit. Clomiphene citrate (Clomid or Serophene) is one of the most widely used drugs in male infertility. It is a weak anti-estrogen that interferes with the normal feedback of circulating estrogens and results in an increase in GnRH that stimulates gonadotropin secretion. The resulting elevation in LH and FSH increases intratesticular testosterone levels and in theory should improve spermatogenesis. Gonadotropin therapy may be used if clomphene is unsuccessful in the face of low FSH and LH.
If a pituitary tumor is found, surgery or medications to lower prolactin may restore spermatogenesis to normal.
An obstructed vas may be microsurgically reconstructed. Surgery may also be performed in the presence of a varicocoele.
Intrauterine insemination may improve delivery of sperm to an egg or in the absence of any sperm, artificial insemination with donor sperm is often successful.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection into the egg in an IVF procedure is highly successful when sperm may be obtained through the ejaculate and even through testicular biopsy. When normal mature sperm are rare such as in testicular failure, associated with elevated FSH, ICSI is much less likely to result in fertilization and pregnancy. Immature sperm cells rarely can result in a healthy pregnancy.
Naturopathic treatment for male infertility focuses on improving sperm quantity, sperm quality, and overall male reproductive health. There have been reports that sperm counts have fallen almost 50 percent since the 1930s. Although some dispute these findings, it is generally accepted that sperm counts are declining. The cause may be environmental and dietary and lifestyle changes may interfere with men’s sperm production. If this is so, improving diet and making healthy lifestyle choices should positively impact male reproductive health.
The importance of a healthy diet cannot be overstated. To function properly, the reproductive system requires the proper vitamins and minerals. Nutritional deficiencies can impair hormone function, inhibit sperm production, and contribute to the production of abnormal sperm.
• Eat a natural foods diet that focuses on fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
• Drink 50 percent of body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., a 150 lb man would drink 75 oz of water).
• Eliminate processed and refined foods (e.g., white flour), junk food, sugars, alcohol, and caffeine.
• Avoid saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (e.g., margarine); use olive oil.
• Pumpkin seeds are naturally high in zinc and essential fatty acids which are vital to healthy functioning of the male reproductive system. Eat pumpkin seeds to help maintain a healthy reproductive system.
The following supplements may increase sperm count and/or motility. Allow 3-4 months for the supplements to work. The following is a list of supplements with their supposed benefit.
• Arginine – Take 4 gr daily. Needed to produce sperm. If the sperm count is below 10 million per ml, arginine probably will not provide any benefit.
• Coenzyme Q10 – Take 10 mg daily. May increase sperm count and motility.
• Flaxseed oil – Take 1 tbsp daily. Is a source of essential fatty acids.
• L-carnitine – Take 3-4 grams daily. Required for normal sperm function.
• Multivitamin-mineral – Buy a high-quality product and take one serving size (differs from brand to brand).
• Selenium – Take 200 mcg daily. May improve sperm motility.
• Vitamin B-12 – Take 1000 mcg daily. A B-12 deficiency reduces sperm motility and sperm count. Even if no deficiency exists, B-12 supplementation may help men with a sperm count of less than 20 million per milliliter or a motility rate of less than 50%
• Vitamin C – Take 500 mg 2 times daily. Is an antioxidant.
• Vitamin E – Take 400 IUs 2 times daily. Is an antioxidant and may improve sperms’ ability to impregnate.
• Zinc – Take 30 mg 2 times daily. Required for a healthy male reproductive system and sperm production.
Herbal remedies usually do not have side effects when used appropriately and at suggested doses. Occasionally, an herb at the prescribed dose causes stomach upset or headache. This may reflect the purity of the preparation or added ingredients, such as synthetic binders or fillers. For this reason, it is recommended that only high-quality products be used. As with all medications, more is not better and overdosing can lead to serious illness and death.
The following herbs may be used to treat male infertility:
• Ginseng (Panax ginseng) – Known as a male tonic (an agent that improves general health) and used to increase testosterone levels and sperm count. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) may also be used.
• Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) – May increase sperm motility.
• Sarsaparilla (>Smilax spp.) – Known as a male (and female) tonic.
• Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) – Used for overall male reproductive health.
• Avoid alcohol. Alcohol consumption is associated with an increased number of defective sperm.
• Consider acupuncture.
• Do not smoke, or quit smoking. There is an association between smoking and low sperm count, poor sperm motility, and abnormal sperm.
• Proxeed – is a new nutritional supplement that may improve sperm health and fertility rates. The ingredients include L-carnitine and acetylcarnitine, two vitamin-like substances synthesized naturally by the body. These chemicals are involved in cellular metabolism and are found in semen at a rate that is proportionate to the amount of healthy sperm. Proxeed is purported to improve sperm count, concentration, and motility when taken orally for about 2 months. It is reported that approximately 30% of couples using it conceive. It is available without a prescription, although couples considering it should consult their physician.
This article was written by Dr. Kreiner a reproductive medicine and Medical Director of East Coast Fertility. Dr. Kreiner has helped thousands of families achieve their dreams of having babies.
Originally published on FertilityTies