Using Chinese Medicine to enhance male fertility
It takes two to tango. The genetic material that creates human life originates from both mother and father. It therefore makes good sense for both prospective parents to offer the highest quality reproductive energy to their children to give them the best possible start in life.
Male reproductive health requires different clinical consideration to that of women’s, never-the-less Chinese Medicine may assist men as they look to enhance their fertile potency.
Males are often the neglected part of the baby making equation.
On the surface they appear to make a lesser contribution yet are responsible for 50% of the essential genetic information required to make a baby.
Public perception and peer group pressure actively promotes unrealistic expectations of male virility, masculinity and sexual prowess in our culture. Contrary to this is the thought that up to 40 % of fertility problems originate in the male.
Embarking upon Chinese Medicine fertility treatment might be the first time a man has spoken to a health practitioner about healthy, normal, realistic male sexual reproductive function.
There are 3 areas of male fertility where Chinese Medicine may be of assistance.
Assuming a man to be fertile, the aim of fertility enhancement therapies is to promote optimal male reproductive health in preparation for fathering strong, healthy children.
While there is growing evidence to suggest that male fertility naturally declines with age what we can say is that it certainly is not to the extent of female reproductive decline. Men will continuously produce semen until their dying breath and can father children well into old age.
It takes about 3 months for a man to produce new sperm from its early beginnings to maturity. Best therapeutic effect is therefore achieved if Chinese Medicine treatment begins up to 3 months prior to attempting to conceive.
Even if medical infertility is eventually diagnosed this effort is not wasted as it forms the basis of infertility treatment should men wish to continue with Chinese Medicine or the couple decides to undergo IVF treatment.
Medically a couple isn’t considered infertile until after a year of having unprotected intercourse at ovulation they have been unable to conceive.
The usual course of action in Australia is for most couples to undergo medical investigation designed to establish if there are any medical causes that might explain the symptom of infertility.
Medical tests include semen analysis which looks for seminal abnormalities and the presence of antibodies, blood tests to assess hormone levels and sometimes ultrasound and biopsy.
The results of these tests are not critical to Chinese medicine treatment because we use a different diagnostic system. The information can however be very useful.
Although Eastern and Western medicine work according to completely different principles and understanding it is common for Western Medical baseline test results to improve markedly after a period of Chinese Medicine treatment.
Idiopathic or unexplained infertility
In cases where medical tests have been unable to establish clear causative factors for infertility there are usually subclinical signs able to be detected by the system of Chinese Medicine to explain why couples are experiencing fertility difficulties.
Of clinical interest in males will be symptoms such as lower back pain, night sweating, frequent urination, high libido but inability to sustain an erection, premature ejaculation, impotence, post ejaculation fatigue or varicoceles (varicose veins) of the scrotum.
It is usually advisable for both partners to receive Chinese Medicine treatment simultaneously. Couples should realistically expect between 3 to 6 months of treatment for success and be pleasantly surprised if a pregnancy occurs beforehand.
Explained infertility is when medical tests have been able to establish a clear medical cause to explain male infertility.
The types of explained infertility cases commonly presenting at Chinese medicine clinics include low sperm count, where the ejaculate contains insufficient numbers of sperm to facilitate conception.
Abnormal morphology, where abnormal sperm shape makes it difficult for them to penetrate the surface of the egg or poor motility, where the sperm swims feebly and/or without purpose.
Functional problems such as performance anxiety or an inability to achieve or maintain an erection are also conditions for which Chinese Medicine treatment is commonly sought.
TCM can be safely used in conjunction with Western Medicine treatment or as a natural alternative if men are uncomfortable with the thought or experience of hormonal drug therapy or IVF treatment.
What to expect of Chinese medicine treatment
Men tend to be less complicated to treat with Chinese Medicine than women because they don’t have monthly hormonal cycles.
Typically a combination of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine is used initially, especially if there are physical symptoms such as lower back pain.
From there men are usually best managed on Chinese Herbal Medicine alone.
This means fewer clinic visits as once the herbal formula is working it can be repeated and continued until the desired outcome of a pregnancy occurs.