June is Men’s Health Month, which got me thinking about ways to help men with their health. Given that my area of expertise is in fertility, I decided the best way is to talk about Sperm.
I could go with the standard list of things to avoid that not only help your sperm count but your health in general like don’t smoke or be wary of plastics. We all know smoking is terrible, but not only will it shorten your life span, but your fertility goes down and man do you smell gross. As for plastics, did you know that heating food in a plastic container or drinking from BPA containing water bottles can disrupt endocrine signaling in the body and not only lower sperm counts but also lead to higher rates of cancer?
Alternatively, I could tell you to get more sleep. Yeah, you heard me, sleeping! Four out of 10 of you are getting less than seven hours of sleep a night. Just by sleeping a full seven to eight hours you’ll not only live longer, but yes, your fertility rates and sperm count can go up. Or I could tell you what I’m sure everyone says, which is engage in mild to moderate exercise. It’s true that not only will you live longer, but you can also increase your sperm count. By the way, you can get all the benefits of a solid exercise routine by doing something as simple as this seven minute workout from the New York Times and UCLA exercise scientists 3 times a week.
Instead of all this generic advice, I have a different idea; CHECK YOUR SPERM! Did you know that there’s a correlation between the quantity and quality of men’s sperm and mortality? Studies have shown that men with lower sperm counts, motility or semen volume (as often found in male factor infertility) had higher mortality rates compared to men with normal semen quality (yes, by mortality I mean they die sooner.) Those with multiple issues had a mortality rate more than twice as high. So, what does this mean? It means semen quality still has absolutely nothing to do with how “manly” you are, but it could be a marker of healthy you are, and it’s a simple marker that men shouldn’t be ignoring.
I can’t tell you the number of times a woman has come for acupuncture for help trying to conceive, having already been through a battery of tests herself, and her husband or partner is too afraid or procrastinating in getting a semen analysis done. Men can be the cause of infertility 30-50% of the time. I could spend months doing treatments on the woman while the guy procrastinates, and 30-50% of the time I should have spent those months treating him. We all know that age is a factor in conception, and wasting months is not something anyone wants to do.
If I’ve spent most of this post scaring you – I’m coming to the good news. You don’t have to run off and schedule an appointment with a urologist to check your sperm. All you need is a smartphone and one of these nifty kits we now have in stock at the Healing Arts Center called YO! Sperm Test.* It’s insanely easy, you can do it at home and it comes with two tests so you get a real sense of what your situation is. It will not only give you a window into your fertility, but into your overall health. Being a real man means having wisdom; you can’t have wisdom without knowing as much as you can about the world, and more importantly about yourself.
- Steven Mavros, L.OM.
*You can purchase one in our office or order one online through our recommended supplements and products page on our website.
Steve Mavros, L.OM., is co-founder of The Healing Arts Center of Philadelphia. He has been an acupuncturist and herbalist since 2001. Though he treats a wide variety of conditions, he has been focusing on male and female infertility since his first month in practice. Working hand-in-hand with reproductive endocrinologists and even treating on-site at fertility clinics, Steve has helped pioneer the acupuncture for fertility field in Philadelphia.
The views and nutritional/herbal advice expressed by Steve Mavros, L.OM. is not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider. No information offered here should be interpreted as a diagnosis of any disease, nor an attempt to treat or prevent or cure any disease or condition. Information and statements regarding products and/or services made available by Steve Mavros, L.OM. and the Healing Arts Center have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.