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What You Need to Know About Male Infertility

As our cultural and medical understanding of sperm health and male fertility grows, our sperm quality and quantity declines.

A study published last year (https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article-abstract/23/6/646/4035689?redire...) found a hefty decline in sperm counts between 1973 and 2011, a 50-60% drop in this time; dramatic to say the least. Most disturbing is there are only theories and notions as to what is the actual cause of this steep decline. Sperm production is a complicated biochemical process and to assess the variables that are in play in it’s healthy production is difficult. Usually studies will look at one or two chemicals or variables to see how they affect sperm health. These types of studies will often show concrete correlations between phthalate exposure and sperm health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29024969), or stress levels and lower testosterone (http://militarymedicine.amsus.org/doi/pdf/10.7205/MILMED-D-11-00053). However, to have a full picture of the situation is extremely difficult, and all we can do now is investigate trends and specific factors that may be contributing.

This is important information but given the constant interactions we have with our environment an individual's life is much more complicated than any one study can decipher. Our modern lifestyle exhibits the following factors that are constantly at play in sperm health:

  • Air quality
  • Exercise or lack thereof
  • Food choices
  • Stress
  • Sleep quality
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Prescription medications
  • Long term toxin exposure
  • Exposure to hormone like substances in our food, water and environment

As a result, male infertility affects 10-15% of couples worldwide. Further underlying epigenetic issues (http://www.nature.com/nrurol/journal/v13/n10/abs/nrurol.2016.157.html?fo...) (how are genes are expressed and turned on/off based on environmental factors) may be contributing even more to difficulty in conceiving and ill health of offspring.
Societal norms have shifted to people having children later in life, thus bringing in age as a major factor with respect to pregnancy for men and women. Deteriorating sperm quality from the mid-30s onwards becomes a contributing factor to difficulty conceiving and miscarriage. A study from Harvard medical school (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jul/02/men-are-affected-by-the-...) has shown that indeed it can be more difficult to conceive if the father is older. Delaying fatherhood makes sense to many of us but unfortunately can have detrimental effects on our sperm health and overall systemic oxidative stress levels.

Luckily there are ways to slow down and even reverse some of these changes. Acupuncture, food, exercise, supplements, lifestyle awareness - embrace them all and you will see change to both your overall health and sperm quality.

Cultivating a healthy, fertile lifestyle is often about making healthier decisions on a daily basis. As you move forward in your life to build on good healthy habits, your fertility and sperm health will follow. Much of what we need to do is just AVOID, and men are always good at that!

  • Avoid heat
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Avoid toxins
  • Avoid pesticides and herbicides
  • Avoid a sedentary life
  • Eat good food, exercise, get acupuncture, take some supplements, cultivate positive relationships, make changes at work (less stress)

Imagine having the patience and confidence to know that you can take action and use some simple tools to improve your fertile self. Imagine that positive change takes time, but that this will allow you to integrate health into your daily experiences, leading to benefits beyond fertility, including longer life span and happiness. Imagine that you will be the best version of yourself for your future child.

Utilizing complementary health services involves a more inclusive approach to your sperm health. We can assess the successes of our treatments based on an improved Semen Analysis (SA) at your local lab and ultimately a healthy pregnancy.

How can we tap into this incredible history of knowledge and experience? We know that acupuncture supports homeostasis, regulates the organ systems, balances immunity and aids in a reduced stress response and calmer nervous system. With each treatment being completely focussed on you and your specific health concerns, the effects are targeted. Furthermore we know how to eat, how to exercise, how to live a “fertile” life. In addition to these simple lifestyle changes a scientific understanding of sperm health has given us other tools. For example, glutathione is an important antioxidant that prevents cellular damage; it occurs naturally in our bodies, but unfortunately is not able to be ingested orally at therapeutic doses. What is possible are glutathione antioxidant injections - a proven way to improve sperm health and we are prepared to use whatever we can in our arsenal of treatment options.

Yinstill has over 30 years of cumulative experience and we all work in a sharing, collaborative environment. We are constantly pushing to learn more in the field, use traditional treatment methods of acupuncture and herbal medicine and embrace new ideas and innovation.

BENEFITS
With our treatments, you will experience:

  • Improved sperm parameters to improve chances of a healthy pregnancy and reduce incidence of miscarriage
  • Improved sexual health
  • More energy and improved sleep
  • Reduced pain, whether acute or chronic
  • Improved mood and mental health

PROOF
Combining the modern and traditional models of therapy is the best approach to improving and maintaining balanced hormones and healthy sperm. Modern research has given us more specific ideas and has helped to establish treatment protocols while working with traditional techniques and methods of diagnosis and therapy. It is becoming clearer that Chinese medicine and acupuncture are legitimate additions to conventional/biomedical therapies, with a growing body of evidence to support its use for improving sperm health and reducing infertility in men. Some research on TCM and sperm health can be found below:

  • Acupuncture improves sperm morphology: Acupuncture and Morphology - “A significant improvement in morphology was detected with treatments of 2/week over 5 weeks”. Pen, J. 2005.http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(05)00591-1/abstract
  • Acupuncture increases sperm concentration: Acupuncture and Concentration - “ Acupuncture is a useful, non-traumatic treatment for males with very poor sperm concentration, especially those with a history of genital tract inflammation.” Sitermen, S. 2000.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10702864
  • Acupuncture improves sperm motility: Acupuncture and Motility/Concentration - “ A significantly higher percentage of motile sperm was found after acupuncture compared with placebo acupuncture.” Dieterle, S. 2009.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19394002
  • Acupuncture improves sperm count: Acupuncture and Motility/Concentration - “Acupuncture and moxa techniques significantly increase the percentage of normal-form sperm in infertile patients”. Gurfinkel, E. 2003http://www.asiaandro.com/Abstract.asp?id=959
  • Acupuncture improves blood flow to the testicles, supplying oxygen, removing waste and nourishing the environment: Electroacupuncture and Testicular Blood Flow (TBF) “The 10-Hz EA stimulation of ST-29 (guilai) increased TBF” Cakmak, YO. 2008.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18076881

WHAT WILL BE DELIVERED
After you fill out your health history in an online form we meet for the first time to discuss things in more detail. We begin acupuncture treatments on the first visit and talk about some basics of sperm health and how to start making immediate improvements. If you have any physical pain we can discuss and work on it if appropriate. If stress is an issue as well we will include this in the treatments and discuss strategies to reduce the effects. Ideally, we will meet 2/week or weekly for 12 treatments to fully allow the acupuncture and other changes to have their effect, as acupuncture works best with consistency. A full cycle of spermatogenesis is 3 months including transport in the ductal system, so it often requires 1 - 3 courses of treatment to attain optimal results, with weekly treatments for 3 - 6 months or more.

Following the initial treatment you will be sent a detailed treatment plan with lifestyle and diet pointers to help you to figure out what you can do for yourself to improve the situation. We will constantly be checking in on these aspects of your health to track progress or pinpoint different areas to work on.

These treatments take time and involve subtle long term changes to your body and health. Patience is key and so is taking action now. Call 604-873-9355 for a free consultation, we are happy to discuss your specific situation and how we can help.

We look forward to helping you to achieve your goals; we are truly dedicated to the health and well-being of all our patients. We can make a difference by using what we know works to improve your fertile health including acupuncture, herbs, antioxidant injections, supplements, food and lifestyle choices.

Men, it is up to you to take control of your bodies and educate yourselves on the reality of fertility in the modern world. Things can be more complicated than they appear on the surface, but there are answers and we can offer therapy and knowledge that are proven to work.