Are you trying to conceive? Ever wonder if your male partner may have fertility concerns? Did you know male infertility is just as much of a concern as female infertility? Some studies suggest male infertility may account for 20% to 50% of a couple’s fertility concerns! Male infertility rates vary greatly but it is now understood to be a greater problem than once considered.
Here are some of the top reasons for male infertility:
- Excessive alcohol use
- Recreational drug use
- Hormonal imbalances
- Certain medications
The above reasons may all contribute to:
- Low sperm count
- Abnormal morphology (shape and size of sperm)
- Decreased motility of sperm
As a Naturopathic Doctor, I use acupuncture (among other therapies) to address these concerns. Acupuncture is a non-invasive and relatively quick treatment for some causes of male infertility. Many clinical trials using acupuncture in male infertility studies have shown significant positive outcomes.
Studies have demonstrated that acupuncture increased the percentage of normal sperm (healthy shape and size), sperm counts and improved overall motility of sperm. The research trials involved acupuncture treatments occurring either once or twice a week over a 5 to 10 week period.
In my practice, I have seen beneficial effects from acupuncture treatments occurring once per week for 6 weeks. Ideally, a first visit entails a detailed medical history intake including conversations about the aforementioned lifestyle factors. After the consult, acupuncture sessions may be scheduled. Acupuncture treatments are booked for 45 minutes with a 20 minute session where acupuncture needles are positioned in specific parts in the body. I often like to inform male clients of the location of these points prior to a treatment. Following male fertility research protocols, I insert needles on the stomach, feet, ankles, knees and on the back. One of the most common questions I get asked by male clients is if acupuncture hurts. Patients are calmed when I tell them that many people often fall asleep during the treatment. As well, I recommend to patients to avoid eating large meals prior to the treatment and to refrain from vigorous physical activity immediately after the session.
Acupuncture is a beneficial tool for treating male infertility. It also useful in reducing stress levels during the often emotionally-taxing process of conception. If a fertility doctor has discussed suboptimal sperm results with you, consider acupuncture as a supportive therapy. Infertility is largely seen as a ‘female’ issue. I hope this article demonstrates the importance of including men in fertility discussions and brings to light another treatment option for couples.