Posts Tagged ‘male infertility’

Is Gluten Sensitivity Linked to Infertility?

Monday, April 4th, 2011

If you follow the news related to nutrition and fertility, you might have heard that gluten (a protein substance found in wheat and other cereal grains) sensitivity and/or celiac disease (a disease of the small intestine caused by gluten intolerance) may be linked to infertility and/or irregularities with the menstrual cycle. Research studies have shown that women with gluten sensitivity are more likely to experience:

- Delays in menstruation

- Amenorrhea

- Miscarriage

- Gynecological and obstetric complications

- Low birth weight

Gluten sensitivity can affect if and how your body absorbs vitamins and nutrients – crucial components to a woman’s reproductive health. Without proper food absorption, a woman’s hormones may not function as they should, which could cause irregular menstruation and/or ovulation. Suboptimal nutrient absorption may impact the ability of a woman to conceive, and might also impact the health of a fetus (e.g. low birth weight) due to insufficient availability of nutrients.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the gluten connection

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a hormonal imbalance that can adversely affect fertility due to an inconsistent menstruation cycle. Most women with PCOS have many small cysts on their ovaries, but also experience a cluster of symptoms ranging from excessive hair growth to insulin resistance.

One nutritionist that works closely with women dealing with PCOS noted that at least 85% of her PCOS patients tested positive for some form of gluten sensitivity. That is HUGE! Those that went gluten-free saw a reduction in their PCOS symptoms (and even lost weight which can be tough with PCOS).

Fertility issues caused by gluten sensitivity are not just for women . . …gluten sensitivity may also be linked to low sperm count, motility and morphology.

All in all, gluten sensitivity is becoming more common in our society. If you’re experiencing issues conceiving, it may be worth getting tested for a gluten allergy.

Antioxidants: An antidote to declining sperm health

Monday, February 7th, 2011

The number of men experiencing fertility issues is rising rapidly, and poor sperm health is to blame. Alarmingly, the average sperm count among adult men has decreased by 50% since 1938, and continues to decline by at least 2% every year. Our modern lifestyle, so often characterized by too much stress, chronic exposure to dangerous environmental chemicals, and a diet deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, has taken a toll on male reproductive health, and specifically targets sperm health. As a result, many men suffer from low sperm count, low sperm motility, and/or abnormal sperm morphology (the size and shape of sperm). Sadly, this is a fact that many trying-to-conceive couples are all too familiar with.

In recent years, fertility experts have discovered that oxidative stress causes sperm damage, leading to low sperm count, low sperm motility, and abnormal sperm morphology. Oxidative stress occurs when the amount of free radicals circulating in the body exceeds the amount of antioxidants that are present. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules produced when your body breaks down dangerous chemicals. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, thereby reducing the damaging effects of these compounds. Like all other cells in the body, sperm cells are constantly bombarded by free radicals. But, as it turns out, sperm cells have less effective antioxidant mechanisms to keep free radicals at bay, and are especially vulnerable to damage from free radicals due to the high amounts of fats contained in their cell membrane. Fertility experts now believe that up to 80% of all cases of male infertility are attributable to oxidative stress.

Fortunately, an ever-expanding body of scientific research suggests that supplementing your diet with key antioxidant nutrients can help prevent free radical damage to sperm cells. In fact, scientists recently reviewed the results of more than 30 clinical trials in which the male partners of couples seeking fertility assistance were given an antioxidant supplement or a placebo or no treatment at all. The results of this statistical review study, which appear in an article titled Antioxidants for Male Subfertility, (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21249690) indicate that supplementing the diet of TTC men with antioxidants is associated with an increased pregnancy rate and an increased live birth rate among couples seeking fertility assistance.

This is wonderful news for those of you suffering from less than optimal sperm health! Supplementing your diet with key antioxidant nutrients, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, CoQ10, and quercetin, can improve your sperm count, sperm motility and sperm morphology. If you are looking for a way to ensure you get the antioxidant support you need to maximize your sperm health, check out the following Fairhaven Health products: FertilAid for Men, CountBoost for Men and Motility Boost for Men.

What is a Semen Analysis (SA) Exactly?

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Unfortunately, when trying to get pregnant many couples encounter difficulties and visiting a fertility specialist becomes necessary. This is not just for the ladies…men may be asked to have a semen analysis done as inadequate sperm count, motility, and/or morphology affects more than 30% of couples facing infertility. A semen analysis measures the amount and quality of semen in the sample to determine if there is infertility issue.

The preparation for a semen analysis is actually quite simple. He may be asked to abstain from any sexual activity 2-4 days before the analysis. It is also recommend to not avoid sexual activity for the 1-2 weeks before the analysis, because sexual inactivity can hinder the results. At the appointment, he is asked to masturbate into a clean, wide mouthed bottle. This bottle is then delivered to the laboratory for testing. Men that are concerned with the process of masturbating in the doctor’s office should ask for alternate ways to provide the sample.

Approximately 30 minutes after the sample is taken (allowing the semen to liquefy), multiple tests are performed:

Semen Volume: 2-6 ml is a normal volume of ejaculate in a healthy man. An especially high or low volume can signify an issue that may need to be investigated.

Semen Viscosity: Semen should liquefy in about 30 minutes. If it doesn’t liquefy, this likely indicates an infection of the seminal vesicles and prostate.

Semen pH: The alkaline pH protects the sperm from the acidity of vaginal fluids.

Presence of fructose: Fructose provides energy for sperm motility – an absence of fructose may indicate a block in the mail reproductive tract.

Sperm Count: Sperm count is measured by an examination under the microscope. If the sample is less than 20 million per sperm per ml, this is considered low sperm count.

Sperm Motility: Sperm motility is the ability of the sperm to move. For fertility purposes, it’s important to remember that only the sperm that move forward fast are able to fertilize the egg. Motility is graded from A to D;

A – sperm swim forward fast in a straight line

B – sperm swim forward, but in a curved or crooked line, or slowly

C – sperm move their tails, but do not move forward

D – sperm do not move at all

Grade C and D are of concern when testing for fertility.

Sperm Morphology: Sperm should have a regular oval head, with a connecting mid-piece and a long straight tail. Abnormal sperm is distorted in shape (round heads, large heads, double heads, absent tails, etc). A normal sample should have at least 15% with normal form.

Sperm Clumping: Sperm clumping (or agglutination) means sperm stick together. This impairs motility.

Pus Cells: Some white blood cells in the semen is normal – however, many pus cells suggest the presence of an infection.

For couples that are trying-to-conceive, if the semen analysis is abnormal, it will likely be repeated 3-4 times over a period of a couple months. This will help to confirm if there is indeed an abnormality present. If so, you can then work to treat that specific issue.

Not sure if you need a semen analysis? The SpermCheck fertility test is a convenient and affordable way to measure for normal count. You can test in the privacy of your own home, if the result shows low sperm count it would be a good indicator that thorough analysis is warranted.

There also are herbal supplements available on the market to help address issues with sperm count, motility, and morphology. FertilAid for Men works to promote the healthy production of sperm and has been shown to have a positive effect on all three of those parameters. For men diagnosed with low sperm count (under 20 million per ml), CountBoost can be taken in conjunction with FerilAid for Men to specifically address a low sperm count. For men diagnosed with low motility (grade c or d), MotilityBoost can be taken in conjunction with FertilAid for Men to specifically address poor motility.

Finally… an Accurate At-Home Sperm Test for Assessing Male Fertility

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Fairhaven Health Introduces the SpermCheck Fertility Test

No man relishes the idea of having a semen analysis conducted to assess his fertility. The prospect of “procuring a sample” in a clinical setting is enough to make most men uncomfortable, to say the least.

While laboratory-conducted semen analyses are by no means a thing of the past, there is at least now an at-home option that provides concrete data on one of the most critical parameters of male fertility – sperm count.

The brand-new SpermCheck Fertility Test is an easy-to-use, affordable (retails online for around $35) male fertility test distributed by Fairhaven Health. Within minutes, the SpermCheck Fertility Test can tell you if your sperm count is within the “normal” range – 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen or higher, as defined by the World Health Organization.

Developed by researchers at the University of Virginia, the SpermCheck Fertility Test works by detecting an antigen found on the surface of the head of a sperm cell known as SP-10. The method employed by the test has been demonstrated to be accurate 96% of the time.

To learn more about the SpermCheck Fertility Test, visit the product website. Units are available for purchase directly from Fairhaven Health.

Infertility- It’s Not Just For The Ladies!

Monday, September 28th, 2009

In the past, when a couple had difficulties getting pregnant, the assumption was that the woman was ‘barren,’ or somehow responsible for the couple’s infertility. We now know, however, that a male factor plays a role in almost one half the cases.

Some Causes of Male Infertilitybaby-1

  • Low sperm count
  • Slow sperm movement (motility)
  • Abnormal shape and size of sperm (morphology)
  • Obstructive tubal blockages
  • Testicular injury or disease
  • Varicocele (a dilation of the testicular veins in the spermatic cord that leads from the testicles to the abdomen)
  • Genetic disorders
  • Drug use
  • Environmental toxins and radiation

The most common reason for infertility in men is the inability to produce adequate numbers of healthy sperm. Azoospermia refers to no sperm being produced while oligospermia is when few sperm are produced. Infertility in men may also be caused by impotence or disorders affecting ejaculation, such as inhibited ejaculation and retrograde ejaculation (when ejaculate is forced backward into the bladder). It may also be caused by failure of the testes to descend into the scrotum, which inhibits the production of sperm.

There are many other factors of male fertility issues that might explain low sperm count, slow sperm mobility and abnormal sperm shape. Some of which include- lifestyle, genetics, and physiology.

If You are a Man Trying to Conceive…

  • Stop smoking. Both cigarettes and marijuana. Smoking has been directly linked to low sperm count. Long-term use of marijuana can also result in low sperm count and abnormal development of sperm.
  • Drink less or no alcohol. Alcohol can reduce the production of sperm.
  • Be Weight Conscious. Both overweight and underweight men can develop fertility problems. Too much weight can cause hormonal disturbances. Too little weight can cause decreased sperm count and functionality.
  • Keep Cool and Comfortable. Heat is detrimental to sperm. Keep clothing loose and wear boxers. You should also avoid hot tubs and steam rooms.
  • Have Regular Sex. Recent studies show that the chances of conceiving go up if you’re having sex with regularity.
  • Avoid Chemicals and Toxins. Landscapers, contractors, manufacturing workers, and men who have regular contact with environmental toxins or poisons (pesticides, insecticides, lead, radiation, or heavy metals) are all at risk of infertility.
  • Consider Proper Supplementation. Ensure optimal fertility by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes proper nutrients and vitamins.

For more information about male fertility, visit the site of clinically proven FertilAid.

Smokers Less Likely to Conceive

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that smoking adversely affects women and men who are trying to conceive. Specialists recommend a number of things you can do to increase your chances of conception, such as lowering the intake of alcohol and caffeine, implementing an exercise regiment, and positive changes in diet, including proper supplementation. Quitting smoking is a recommended change that is extremely important to ensure good health, and to optimize your chances of getting pregnant.

Here are the Facts:smoking_591

  • Women who smoke are 60 percent more likely than nonsmokers to be infertile.
  • About 25% of women of reproductive age smoke, and nearly a third of them continue to do so during pregnancy.
  • Menopause occurs one to four years earlier in smoking women than non-smoking women.
  • Nicotine has a disruptive effect on egg maturation, ovulation rates, and fertilization rates
  • Smoking is associated with increased spontaneous miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies.
  • Chemicals in tobacco can alter the cervical fluid, making it toxic to sperm.
  • Studies show that smokers require nearly two times as many in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempts as nonsmokers.
  • Women who smoke have an increased risk of cervical cancer, which may require surgery that involves removal of the uterus and sometimes ovaries, which leaves the women permanently infertile.

It is not just women who should stop smoking while trying to conceive...

(more…)

Fertilaid for Women with Regular Cycles

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

We often receive the question, “Can you take Fertilaid for women if you have a regular cycle and ovulate on your own?” While FertilAid for Women does help to normalize an irregular cycle, there are many other benefits realized by those who happen to have regular cycles. FertilAid offers complete vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant support (including folic acid) that is optimized specifically for trying-to-conceive women. The herbal components, in addition to helping balance hormonal levels, have also been shown in various studies to enhance conception rates.

From time to time women with regular cycles may notice slight changes when first starting with FertilAid. This is perfectly normal as there may be an adjustment period with the body beginning to assimilate the new vitamins, minerals and herbs. Things generally normalize after the first cycle or two and, again, for most women this is generally not an issue.

FertilAid is a natural, non prescription, doctor-recommended formula which receives a great deal of positive feedback from women with irregular and normal menstrual cycles. It is the only fertility supplement that combines all the recommended daily requirements of a prenatal vitamin along with a proprietary blend of fertility enhancing herbs.

Read more about FertilAid and it’s various ingredients by visiting www.FertilAid.com.

An Infertility Overview

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Chris Meletis, ND

By Chris Meletis, ND
Contributing Writer

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 1 in 7 American couples have difficulty conceiving a child. Nearly 12% of American women between 15 and 44 years of age have impaired fertility, roughly 7.3 million women.

Men are also affected: 30% of all infertility cases are attributable to problems on the male side. The number is about equal for cases exclusively attributable to the woman. The other 40% are due to shared factors or indeterminable causes.

Infertility is a costly problem. Each year, American couples spend between $2-3 billion on fertility drugs, assisted reproduction, and other medical services. In many cases, though, careful attention to nutrition and lifestyle factors can obviate the need for more expensive, drug-based fertility enhancement or assisted reproduction. Primary care doctors can play a vital role in identifying and correcting nutrient deficiencies and lifestyle factors that impair fertility.

Rule Out the Obvious
The first step in helping an infertile couple is to identify and address any obvious anatomic or physiological impediments to conception. In women, these include:

  • Ovulatory Dysfunction, which may be caused by aging, anovulatory cycles, amenorrhea, luteal phase defects, premature ovarian failure, and elevated prolactin. Ovulatory problems account for about 25% of all cases.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, affecting 6–10% of reproductive-age women.
  • Anatomical abnormalities, such as fallopian tube blockage (sometimes a sequelum of pelvic surgery), uterine fibromas, myomas and leiomyomas.
  • Endometriosis, found in 30–45% of infertile women.
  • Medications, including hormones, antidepressants, antibiotics, pain-relievers, aspirin and ibuprofen (when taken at mid-cycle).
  • Non-gynecological medical conditions, including diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, epilepsy, and thyroid conditions. (more…)
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