Infertility is often considered to be a women’s condition. Maybe that stems from the fact that so many functions, rhythms, and complex biological processes within a woman’s body are required to first conceive, then maintain a full-term pregnancy. However, in just about half the situations, the challenge could stem from the man’s side. According to the NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development:
- In one-third of infertile couples, the problem is with the man.
- In one-third of infertile couples, the problem can’t be identified or is with both the man and woman.
- In one-third of infertile couples, the problem is with the woman.
The very fact that mainstream medicine considers this condition “infertility” gives us insight into how they view the situation. Infertility is just a matter of fact. What if we look at this from A Different Perspective? What if we think more in the direction of what is standing in the way of fertility? What if we look outside of the obvious? Fertility is a natural function in a healthy body. By labeling this condition or interference as infertility, and placing it under disease status, the mindset on treatment shifts. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it this way:
Infertility is a disease of the male or female reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
While women are primarily the ones seen for infertility, there are several reasons men could be the ones facing fertility challenges. In a 2017 study printed by Oxford Academic:
A total of 244 estimates of SC and TSC from 185 studies of 42 935 men who provided semen samples in 1973–2011 were extracted for meta-regression analysis, as well as information on years of sample collection and covariates…
This comprehensive meta-regression analysis reports a significant decline in sperm counts (as measured by SC and TSC) between 1973 and 2011, driven by a 50–60% decline among men…
What both men and women need to understand is that they aren’t broken. This has nothing to do with their “manhood.” There may be an interference disrupting their fertility, but they are not broken, and frequently these interferences can resolve, leading to health restoration and function. And, in the case of fertility, it can bring the couple closer to the baby they’re hoping for.
Semen and Sperm
We could crack a million jokes regarding the appointment necessary to test a man’s semen and sperm. And many men are uncomfortable with the prospects of the appointment, ranging from the conversations to the specimen collection. However, we need to remember this is simply a biological function and figuring out what the challenge is will lead to answers. While the path may be uncomfortable, it’s part of the journey.
Probably one of the most frustrating parts for men is that when they finally go in to have the testing done, they are faced with incomplete testing. Doctors can’t tell them where the interference lies. There’s all that build-up, and still, they receive no answers on how to fix it. According to Cleveland Clinic, a semen analysis done through conventional medicine is:
A semen analysis is a lab test that examines a sample of semen under a microscope. It evaluates things like sperm count, activity (motility), and shape (morphology).
Unfortunately, this is an incomplete picture. At The Wellness Way, we go further. We also include testing to include inflammation within the testicles and reproductive organs and several other markers not included in conventional testing. Hidden inflammation is a common source of health challenges. The tricky part is when that is in the testicles. That’s not a common place to be looking for inflammation. The testicles aren’t actually “balls” as most people refer to them as. They are actually 250-300 feet of tiny tubes that produce hormones and sperm. While they are only about 5 cm long, they have a big job! Our doctors and clinicians have the tools to not only find that inflammation but also know how to support the body to restore health.
Prostate, Not Just a Concern For Older Men
Many men are aware of a condition called BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia. According to WebMD:
Benign (noncancerous) enlargement of the prostate, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH for short), is the most common prostate problem in men.
Often it is linked with difficulty urinating due to the pressure the inflamed prostate places on the urethra in men as they age. The swelling and inflammation in the prostate aren’t things that simply affect older men. What may be news is that inflammation in the prostate is typically attributed to higher than optimal estrogen levels. What many people are unaware of are the implications of the prostate on sexual health as well.
It’s a well-known fact that sperm need to swim and move through the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus in search of the egg. This is where sperm health is crucial! The fluid produced and secreted by the prostate nourishes and protects the sperm. This contributes to how long they live, how well they move, and if they are fit for the journey.
That prostatic fluid not only impacts the sperm but also impacts the cervix. Think of the cervix as the opening to the uterus, kind of like a doorway. The cervix produces mucous to protect the woman from foreign invaders, except this time, we want the sperm to get in! That fluid produced by the prostate helps break down the cervical mucous so that the sperm can penetrate and move through and into the uterus to fertilize the egg.
To learn more about how important the prostate is, especially in fertility, check out Dr. Patrick Flynn as he explains it in an easy-to-understand way that only he can. He also offers some great tips on reproductive health that will help you determine whether there is potential prostate inflammation. He also shares other related health tips. Please note, that there is a warning on this video, due to the necessary topics of discussion and images that some parents may deem inappropriate for young children. Nothing questionable, simply biological!
Inflammation and Fertility
Whether the inflammation is in the testicles, the prostate, or any other area in the body, it is a sign of an immune response. The key is to get to what is causing the immune system to react in such a way. One of the biggest culprits to inflammation and testosterone in men is sugar and glucose. Remember how inflammation affects the testicles and estrogen affects the prostate? Guess what causes both? Sugar. A man needs to manage his diet just as much as the lady does to ensure an opportunity for a healthy baby.
There’s Hope; We Do Health Differently!
In the stats from the NIH, it is recognized that 1/3 of the time, the challenge is with the man. Another 1/3 of the time, it is either unidentified or a combination of the man and woman. If we can have complete testing on both, a resolution is much closer, and so is that baby these parents-to-be are longing and hoping for. While the discussion of infertility in men may be uncomfortable, it’s clearly a potential challenge. Proper testing and support are crucial. We know how to test hormones, semen, prostate markers, and the immune system. Then we can figure out where you need the support. One of the biggest reasons we celebrate in our clinics is when we hear about a new baby on the way! To learn more, contact The Wellness Way for more information.