LASTING SOLUTIONS TO MALE INFERTILITY: Imagine there were statistics to show the number of prayers made on earth and how many of those will be of women seeking the fruit of the womb. Infertility is a big issue for couples, and the number of infertile couples keeps growing. A couple is said to be infertile if they fail to conceive after one year of regular unprotected s3xual intercourse. About 15% of couples are infertile worldwide, and of these, 20-30% are solely a result of the male infertility issues, while males contribute to 50% of the cases overall.
A male is said to be fertile when he can cause pregnancy in a fertile female. For a man to be termed fertile, his semen has to be of good quality. Good quality semen is one that has the adequate quantity and quality of sperm, i.e., egg-shaped head with a long tail, about 40% of the cells should be mobile, and every one milliliter of semen should have a sperm count of about 15million sperm cells. Other important factors include a firm erection, no blockage in tubes to ensure that produced sperm is ejaculated adequately, in the right direction, and the level of the hormones is adequate.
Treatment strategies can be non-surgical, surgical, or through assisted reproduction techniques. The method adopted for treatment is specific to the identified cause. Some solutions adopted include:
8 LASTING SOLUTIONS TO MALE INFERTILITY:
- Lifestyle modification: When talking about solutions to male infertility one cannot but talk about lifestyle, lifestyle factors can affect the quality of sperm and hormonal levels. Excessive use of alcohol can cause a reduction in levels of testosterone, reduce sperm production, and cause erectile dysfunction. Anabolic steroids used in bodybuilding can reduce the production of sperm while cocaine and marijuana reduce sperm quality. Smoking affects the mobility of sperm and reduces their lifespan. Obesity can affect the levels of hormones and lower sperm quality. Stress and testicular overheating can also induce male fertility. It is necessary, therefore, to reverse these effects of these lifestyle factors by a reduction in alcohol intake, stop the use of drugs, quit smoking, exercise, and lose weight.
- Change of diet and use of supplements: For homeostasis, there is a balance of free radicals and antioxidant agents in the body. Reactive oxygen species are small reactive molecules comprising of free radicals. These by-products of body metabolism and can cause DNA damage when in excess. Foods and supplements with antioxidant properties can eliminate them from the body are very effective in treating male infertility. Such foods include Vitamin c, Vitamin B12, or Lycopene rich foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, etc. A study on 50 infertile men showed that a combination of Q10 coenzyme (30mg), Zinc (8 mg), vitamin C (100mg), vitamin E (12mg) and 400 mg of folic acid, once daily for three months and 200 mg of selenium every other day after lunch resulted in improvement in volume, structure, motility, and count of sperm
Celiac disease characterized by immune reactions resulting from the intake of gluten also causes male infertility because of reduced absorption of necessary nutrients. A gluten-free diet is beneficial for patients in this category
- Treatment of hormonal imbalance:
Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is a condition where the male testes produce little or no s3x hormones. This is as a result of a problem with some structures in the brain specifically the hypothalamus or pituitary gland. This causes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), not to be released. If they are released, however, then the quantities released are inadequate, hampering sperm and testosterone production. Testosterone affects fertility by causing a decrease in sperm production and indirectly by reducing sex drive and causing erectile dysfunction. Gonadotropin replacement is the first-line treatment for hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Examples include Human chorionic gonadotropin and human menopausal gonadotropin. Estrogen modulators and clomiphene can also be used to treat male infertility.
Hyperprolactinemia caused by an excess of prolactin, leading to inhibition of the release of gonadotrophins from the pituitary gland and reduction in sperm production. Treatment is with medicines like Cabergoline or Bromocriptine
- Use of antibiotics: This is one of the most common solutions to male infertility, Acute and chronic infection of the genito-urinary tracts can lead to male infertility and are present in 6-10% of male infertility cases. Structures affected can be the epididymis (epididymitis) or the testicles (orchitis). The resulting inflammation can produce Reactive oxygen species that are harmful to sperm because of their lack of pro-oxidant defense systems. Diagnosed with the presence of increased leukocytes in the semen (Leukospermia), infection and is treated with antibiotics which the causative agents are susceptible to such as quinolones or macrolides
- Suppression of antibodies that attack sperm cells: Antisperm antibodies are antibodies formed when the sperm cells come in contact with blood or semen, killing the sperm cells and leading to an autoimmune condition called immunologic infertility. Diagnosis is with the direct or indirect immunobead test (IBT) or mixed ant globulin reaction. Treatment can be by use of Oral corticosteroids although the prolonged use is sometimes not well tolerated
- Treatment of Ejaculatory problems: Ejaculatory dysfunction( EjD) is a severe cause of male infertility. Ejaculation is the expulsion of seminal fluid, which occurs at climax or orgasm in males. There are four categories of ejaculatory dysfunction;
- Anejaculation in which the man is not able to ejaculate with or without orgasm.
- Premature ejaculation: in which a man ejaculates within 1 minute of penetration or stimulation.
- Delayed ejaculation is the difficulty of a man to reach an orgasm or ejaculate after more than 30 minutes of penetrative s3x.
- Retrograde ejaculation where the man ejaculates inwards towards the bladder rather than out of the penis.
Ejaculatory dysfunction depending on the category can be treated with Psychotherapy, drugs like anticholinergics, assisted ejaculation, retrieval of sperm from post ejaculate urine for Retrograde ejaculation, and surgical sperm retrieval. Thinking of solutions to male infertility? keep the aforementioned tips in mind.
- Surgery: This is used to treat Varicocele or to remove an obstruction. Varicocele is a swelling or enlargement in the veins in the scrotum that houses the testicles. Like varicose veins in the leg, they can occur without symptoms but can cause infertility by reducing sperm quality and decreased testosterone. Surgical treatment aims to block blood flow to the veins, which improves male infertility outcomes.
Obstruction caused by injury to the as deference and vasectomies are treated surgically.
- Assisted reproductive techniques: This is one area you should look into while checking for solutions to male infertility. A situation where other options do not work, sperm is retrieved from the male and fertilization may be induced without sex. These can be by;
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI): Here, sperm is injected directly into the female uterus, especially in cases of low sperm count, poor motility, or retrograde ejaculation.
- In-vitro fertilization (IVF): This can be used to treat male infertility as well by; (i)The traditional method where the sperm is mixed with the eggs from the female in a Petri dish and the fertilized eggs are introduced back into the uterus after 3-5days of growth (ii) Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): This is a type of IVF where a single sperm cell is injected into an egg with a tiny needle called a micropipette. The fertilized egg is then introduced into the female uterus after 1-5 days.
So, this is it! 8 SURE LASTING SOLUTIONS TO MALE INFERTILITY