What’s For Dinner?
A diet rich in omega fatty acids, various vitamins (C, D, E & all the Bs), minerals (zinc, selenium) and antioxidants is important – fish, shellfish & seafood, poultry, nuts, beans, whole grains (such as quinoa, oats, barley and brown rice), dark chocolate and fresh fruits and veges are all good sources.
Try to avoid or limit any foods that are heavily processed, high in saturated or trans fats or high in sugar. This includes things like processed meats (salami, ham, bacon, sausages), full-fat dairy products, soy products, soft drinks and alcohol.
Quality! Quality! Quality!
Eat organic foods where possible. Pesticides are high in xenoestrogens which can result in the degradation of testicular tissue and reduced fertility. Avoid buying cheap meat, dairy and eggs as commercial farming practices often add hormones (xenoestrogens) to animal feed to increase animal growth and/or output.
While our hydration requirements vary day-to-day and person-to-person 2 litres daily (8 glasses) is a good target to work towards. The body needs plenty of water to ensure uptake of nutrients and cellular health.
Plastic Is Bad For The Body!
Plastic bottles, containers and cooking utensils also contain xenoestrogens which are particularly bad when the plastic is heated. Store food in glass or ceramic containers and invest in a reusable drink bottle.
Don’t Cook Your Balls!
Your balls like to be slightly cooler than the rest of your body (they function best at 34 degrees to be exact – this is why they hang lower when they are warmer).
- Ditch the skinny jeans and cycling gear – tight pants hold your balls closer to your body preventing them from descending when they overheat.
- That goes for your underwear too – cotton boxer shorts are ideal as briefs/boxer-briefs tend to be a bit too tight.
- Stick to showers – hot baths, saunas & spa pools will overheat your balls.
- Detox from technology – all electronic devices omit heat, but pay particular attention to avoiding keeping your mobile phone in your front pocket and from working with a laptop on your lap.
Look After Your Skin!
In addition to xenoestrogens which can be found in anti-perspirant deodorants and sunscreen, many skincare products, shampoos, body washes and soaps contain antiandrogens. Look for products which are free from phthalates.
Put Down The Beer & Smokes!
Smoking is harmful to most aspects of your health and your fertility is not exempt! It can negatively impact your sperm count, morphology and motility.
A very small amount of alcohol is fine, however less is better.
You should avoid drinking more than 4 standard drinks per sitting or 10 standard drinks per week. Even small amounts of alcohol negatively impact sperm health and increases the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.
Hit The Gym!
Studies have indicated that male fertility decreases by 10% per every 10% of overweight (Sallmen 2006).
Regular light exercise daily is important – a minimum of 30 mins of physical activity per day is optimal. Moderation is important; Excessive exercise can be harmful (more than 2 hours a day 5 times per week has been shown to reduce testosterone levels and sperm count)
Cycling (while great for cardio) is not ideal for sperm health due to the potential of overheating and injuring your balls. More than 5 hours of cycling per week decreases sperm count and motility.
Catch Up On Your Z’s!
Good quality sleep is important for good quality sperm. The usual sleep hygiene rules apply here – no caffeine after 3pm, No technology an hour before bed, sticking to a routine and getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Chill Out Already!
Stress has a substantial impact of our body’s hormonal regulation and therefore the quality of our sperm. Stress management and self-care practices are important in mitigating this, and are important for supporting your general health and wellbeing.
Some options to consider include meditation, yoga, going for a long walk, playing sport reading a book, playing video games, catching up with a friend, speaking with a therapist or getting acupuncture. Effective stress management should leave you feeling happy and relaxed, but how you achieve this is up to you.
Take Your Pills!
There is a good chance I have recommended that you take some herbs or supplements to assist with improving your sperm quality. Please make sure that you are taking these as recommended and aren’t missing doses.
I Don’t Want To Talk About It…
It can sometimes be embarrassing or confronting to talk about your sexual and reproductive health. However it is really important to mention any other conditions you are currently or have previously experienced such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation or any sexually transmitted infections. Trust me, it’s more common than you think.
TRYING TO CONCIEVE
Timing Is Everything!
Conception is possible from 6 days before your partner ovulates up until the day after. The 4 days before ovulation are the most important days to try and conceive. You should be having sex daily over this period.
You Can Still Enjoy Some Alone Time!
While there is no definitive answer to how often you should ejaculate, evidence suggests that frequent ejaculation is healthy! It is recommended you ejaculate once every 2-4 days (and at least once a week to help ‘clean the pipes out’).
There is also evidence suggesting that more frequent ejaculation is good for your prostate health.
YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT
I strongly recommend that you come and see me once a week over 10 weeks. This is so we can optimise your treatment and make sure you are staying on track with any dietary and lifestyle modifications. It takes 72 days for sperm to develop (spermatogenesis), so we should begin to see the effects of treatment in around 3 months time.
If you haven’t already, please bring any relevant test results you may have (blood tests, semen analysis etc)