While oligospermia, or low sperm count, may not have any serious physical side effects and complications, men understandably have their concerns.
This is because a low sperm count increases the risks for male infertility that, in turn, can be stressful for both the man and his partner.
Male infertility, after all, can require medical treatments including expensive surgery and assisted reproductive techniques (e.g., in vitro fertilization), aside from the mental and emotional stress of the inability to have a child via natural means.
Fortunately, you can prevent low sperm count from affecting your ability to have children. Your doctor may also recommend these preventive measures but you have to remember, too, that there are causes behind oligospermia that cannot be controlled (e.g., medical disease, internal infection).
Limit Your Risk Factors
Scientists have identified several risk factors that can adversely affect sperm quantity and quality, thus, increasing the chances for male infertility.
You should avoid these risk factors as early and as much as possible especially when you suspect that your risks for male infertility may be high:
- Tobacco smoking
regardless of the forms that tobacco comes in, such as cigars, cigarettes, and pipe smoking. Smoking also has other unhealthy effects including constricting blood flow, which has a negative effect on erection quality.
- Drinking alcohol
although moderate red wine consumption can be beneficial to cardiovascular health, an essential aspect in overall health. Ask your doctor about the benefits of drinking 1-2 glasses of red wine a day especially as it contains anthocyanins (i.e., antioxidants that fight the harmful effects of free radicals).
- Using certain illicit drugs
such as cocaine, heroin, and meth, for obvious reasons. You are not just putting your reproductive health at stake but, more worryingly, your overall physical and mental health with these illegal drugs, too.
- Being overweight
especially when you already have high risks for chronic degenerative diseases, such as diabetes.
- Getting infections
that were left untreated especially in your reproductive system. You should not dismiss these infections, such as a urinary tract infection, as these can have a long-term impact on your fertility.
- Being exposed to toxins
including pollutants, contaminants, and chemicals.
- Overheating the testicles and experiencing trauma to them
such as in biking accidents
- Undergoing cancer treatments
such as chemotherapy and radiation
- Taking certain medications
Your doctor will ask about your medical history including the medications you are taking and have taken to ascertain whether these have contributed to your low sperm count.
- Being born with high risks for a fertility disorder (i.e., born with a fertility disorder)
This is beyond your control obviously but you can still talk to your doctor about the possibility for treatments.
- Having certain medical conditions
including chronic illnesses for which physical trauma and prescribed medications can further increase the risks for oligospermia.
- Having a history of cryptorchidism
or undescended testicles, a common childhood medical condition where the testicles have not yet moved into its proper position in the scrotum.
- Having a major pelvic or abdominal surgery
such as a vasectomy.
You and your doctor will look at these risk factors more closely to determine whether a few or several of them have, indeed, contributed to your low sperm count.
Your customized treatment will then be planned according to the findings.
While evidence is still limited on the efficacy of dietary supplements and herbal extracts in male infertility, you can ask your doctor about them. You may, for example, a deficiency that the nutritional supplements can help in.
Besides, you will gain better physical and mental health since these nutritional supplements contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as herbal extracts that can boost overall health.
Studies have shown that the following chemicals have the potential benefit of improving sperm quantity and quality:
- Vitamins A, C, D and E
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- L-acetyl carnitine
- Co-enzyme Q10
- Folic acid
- Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors
- N-acetyl cysteine
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids
Of course, you should adopt a healthy diet, moderate exercise program, and sensible lifestyle habits to reduce the risks of low sperm count. Every little thing can help in boosting your fertility and virility.