Health Notes

Five Ways to Enhance Male Fertility

by Meghan Oakes, MD on October 5, 2017

Last month, my colleague, Dr. Abigail Delaney, wrote about ways women can enhance their natural fertility. It was a great article, but it got me thinking… the male partner could also use some helpful hints. It takes two to tango, right?

So what can you – the men in our lives – do to increase the chance of conception?

1. Don’t wait forever! Most people are aware that a women’s reproductive lifespan is limited. It’s the proverbial “biological clock.” But did you know that men have a “biological clock” as well? Check out these facts:

  • Epidemiological studies have shown increased rates of autism, schizophrenia and other genetic abnormalities in the offspring of older men.
  • Sperm quality deteriorates as men age.
  • Men over 40 are 30 percent less likely to conceive within a year compared to men under the age of 30.
  • Sperm motility and morphology (the percentage of normally-shaped sperm) have consistently been shown to decrease as men age.
  • Although the studies on sperm count are more variable, the bulk of the literature would suggest that sperm concentration decreases as well.
  • Increasing rates of erectile dysfunction and other medical conditions may decrease sex drive in older men.
Dr. Meghan Oakes, Methodist reproductive health specialist
Meghan Oakes, MD

 

2. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity has been shown to drop testosterone levels, which can increase the rates of erectile dysfunction and low libido. It can also drop sperm counts, and effect motility and morphology. Studies show that the sperm of obese men has difficulty with egg binding and fertilization. In short, men who are very overweight are less likely to have sex and more likely to ejaculate fewer sperm that are less effective.

3. Don’t smoke. Smoking has a negative effect on sperm, decreasing its concentration, motility and morphology. There is less research regarding marijuana and E-cigarettes (vaping), but it is reasonable to assume a similar effect, and that these should be avoided as well.

4. Don’t take testosterone! I can’t say this enough. Don’t, don’t, don’t take testosterone! Testosterone use is on the rise, and unfortunately, there are lots of providers prescribing it who are not aware of the potential side effects and risks. The production of testosterone is regulated by the amount of circulating testosterone in the blood stream. If that level is high because of testosterone use, the brain will shut down production in the testicles. Sperm production is shut down as well and can cease entirely! This is not a rare side effect. In fact, it is the norm. Stay away!

5. Get a semen analysis. Ok, so this isn’t the first thing you need to do, but if you’ve been trying for months or are considering starting medication, it is something that should be done. If there is any history of testicular/groin injury or surgery, a semen analysis should be obtained even earlier. Any physician can order a semen analysis at a local lab, or preferably, at a high-complexity lab with personnel that have additional training in semen analysis like the one at Reproductive Health Specialists.

If you have questions about what you need to do to help achieve a successful pregnancy speak with your Methodist Physicians Clinic OB/GYN, or give us a call at Reproductive Health Specialists at Methodist Women’s Hospital.

 

Dr. Meghan Oakes is a reproductive health specialist with Reproductive Health Specialists at Methodist Women’s Hospital.
Contact Dr. Delaney at MethodistPR@nmhs.org.
Dr. Meghan Oakes, fertility specialist, Omaha

{ 0 comments }

Five Ways to Enhance Your Natural Fertility

by Abigail Delaney, MD on September 7, 2017

As a fertility specialist, couples often ask me what they can do to optimize their own natural fertility. What steps can they take to help them get pregnant? And in all honesty, it’s a fantastic question.

In full disclosure, human reproduction is a complicated process that fails more often than it succeeds. Every month, young women have only a 20 percent chance of having a spontaneous pregnancy. That means 80 percent of the time, attempts at pregnancy are unsuccessful for that particular cycle.

So if you are trying to achieve pregnancy and begin planning your family, here are my top five ways you can help increase your chances at getting pregnant: [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Breastfeeding: It All Comes Down to Latch

August 3, 2017
Thumbnail image for Breastfeeding: It All Comes Down to Latch

It’s the most important part of breastfeeding, yet it can also be the most challenging. Nearly every breastfeeding mom will ask the same question as their baby learns to breastfeed: “Is this a good latch or not?” “A good latch feels like a pull/tug, not a pinch,” said Kolene Moore, a certified lactation consultant at […]

Read the full article →

What Do New Moms Need to Know About Nipple Shields?

July 27, 2017
Thumbnail image for What Do New Moms Need to Know About Nipple Shields?

It’s totally normal for new moms to have questions when it comes to breastfeeding. While it may be one of the most natural things a woman’s body is made to do, for some moms, there is sometimes nothing “natural” about it. For some moms, a little help is needed in the form of a nipple […]

Read the full article →

Your Personal Summer: Beat the Menopause Heat

July 13, 2017
Thumbnail image for Your Personal Summer: Beat the Menopause Heat

When the temperatures are rising and it has nothing to do with the thermometer outside, you might be having what some call “your own personal summer.” “You might want to take your clothes off and run naked through a winter storm,” laughed Annette Dillon, APRN, a Methodist Physicians Clinic Women’s Center menopause practitioner certified by the North American […]

Read the full article →

When More than One is On The Way

June 22, 2017
Thumbnail image for When More than One is On The Way

Expecting multiples means double, triple or even quadruple the excitement. It also means an increase in the amount of face time they’ll receive with their health care provider to ensure that both mom and babies are safe. “When we’re talking about multiple pregnancies, each pregnancy is different,” Dr. Neil Hamill, a maternal fetal medicine specialist […]

Read the full article →

The Right Nutrition for a Healthy Baby

May 18, 2017
Thumbnail image for The Right Nutrition for a Healthy Baby

Even if you eat healthy, prenatal vitamins are still an important addition to an expecting mom’s diet. The number one reason why prenatal vitamins are vital? Folic acid. “Without enough folic acid there can be issues with the baby and with the pregnancy that pertain to the brain and spine,” said Dr. Rachel Swim, OB/GYN […]

Read the full article →

What’s a “Normal” Period?

April 20, 2017
Thumbnail image for What’s a “Normal” Period?

“Aunt Flo.” “That Time of the Month.” “Code Red.” “The Curse.” “Leak Week.” A woman’s period can be as different as the more than 5,000 ways to describe it. And since every woman’s body is different, what should you really expect when it comes to your monthly visitor? What is a “normal” period, anyway?

Read the full article →

The Constipation Conversation

March 25, 2017
Thumbnail image for The Constipation Conversation

Alright, ladies. We’re going to have the talk that most of us want to have, but simply doesn’t happen. (Much like the topic itself.) Yes, we’re talking constipation. Constipation affects an overwhelming number of people – more than 4 million Americans, with women being three times more likely to have stubborn bowels than men. Researchers […]

Read the full article →

What Expecting Moms Need to Know about Gestational Diabetes

February 16, 2017
Thumbnail image for What Expecting Moms Need to Know about Gestational Diabetes

When Dr. Antara Pothuloori took the blood test during her pregnancy, she wasn’t too surprised by the results. With a family history of diabetes, she was almost prepared for the news she tested positive for gestational diabetes. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, this is not fun,’” said Dr. Pothuloori with a giggle. Now, Dr. Pothuloori, an […]

Read the full article →