The drop in the mean sperm count in normal men in the last half century is between 40-50 say experts The average sperm count is between 120 and 350 million per cubic centimeter. A low sperm count is below 40 million per cubic centimeter.
Semen is a white or grey liquid, but can occasionally appear yellowish. Pink or red semen suggests that blood is present. Although this is only rarely due to a serious health problem. Usually, each milliliter of semen contains millions of spermatozoa (sperm), but the majority of the volume consists of secretions of the glands in the male reproductive organs. The purpose of semen is purely for reproduction, as a vehicle to carry the spermatozoa into the female reproductive tract.
The WHO provides a definition of a ‘normal’ sperm count:
- the concentration of spermatozoa should be at least 20 million per ml.
- the total volume of semen should be at least 2ml.
- the total number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate should be at least 40 million.
- at least 75 per cent of the spermatozoa should be alive (it is normal for up to 25 per cent to be dead).
- at least 30 per cent of the spermatozoa should be of normal shape and form.
- at least 25 per cent of the spermatozoa should be swimming with rapid forward movement.
- at least 50 per cent of the spermatozoa should be swimming forward, even if only sluggishly.
Causes for low sperm count:
- Very frequent semen ejaculation also lead to lowered sperm count and man may become effectively infertile. Hence maintaining a gap of 3 days between two consecutive ejaculations keeps a man more fertile.
- Smoking, Excessive alcohol intake.
- Over exertion physically and mentally
- Zinc deficiency
- Infections present in prostate gland.
- Malformed genital organs.
- Anabolic steroid use
- Infected semen
- Tight underpants, bathing in very hot water, sitting for long hours, over weight in which fat layers sag on testicles reduce sperm count
- Avoid excessive usage of lubricants and vaginal tablets, they can also cause sperm death.
- Do not store your cellphone in the trouser pocket, or place your laptop on your lap. Protect testicles from too much heat
- Wear loose undergarments.
Ways you can Increase Your Sperm Count
Ejaculate less frequently. Frequent ejaculations can lower sperm count. Your body produces millions of sperm each day, but if you already have low sperm count, consider storing them up longer between ejaculations. If you have sex or masturbate daily, cut down on the frequency for increased sperm production.
Exercise releases testosterone into your body, helping with sperm production. Use compound exercises and lift heavy weights, but refrain from working the same set of muscles the day after. Giving your muscles time to rest and rebuild should help you produce testosterone.
Do not exercise too much! Excessive exercise causes the release of adrenal steroid hormones that actually cause a testosterone deficiency. So whether you want to put on that extra muscle or help out your sperm, remember not to stress your body too much.Do not use anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids may help you pack on the pounds, but they shrink your testicles and may cause infertility. If you’re trying to conceive, stay far, far away.
2. Improve diet
Getting plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can help boost fertility. Also avoid tobacco, refined carbohydrates, coffee, tea, alcohol and foods with artificial additives.Maintain your ideal weight. Food deprivation in men leads to a loss of sex drive and structural changes to reproductive tissue leading to infertility.Obesity, on the other hand, can be associated with a low sperm count and impotence, possibly because of higher temperatures caused by excess fat near the testes. Eat plenty of fish, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables
Foods that increase sperm count
- Dark chocolate
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cashew nut
Intake of vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Zinc should be regular. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are present in the semen. When the ROS are present at a high level it can result in significant damage to the semen. Vitamins can decrease the level of ROS. Vitamins help in synthesis and development and maintenance of the normal sperms and they help in avoiding the clumping of sperms
4. Reduce stress levels by learning relaxation techniques – Keep your mind and body healthy by regular practice of YOGA and MEDITATION.
5. Lose weight
Losing weight will help you counteract low sperm count. Scientists don’t know why obesity correlates to low sperm count, but they do know this:
In a recent French study, scientists found that obese men were 42 percent more likely to have low sperm count than their non-obese counterparts.In the same study, scientists found that obese men were 81 percent more likely to have no sperm at all in their ejaculate.
There are a number of different theories for why this is. Some speculate that fatty tissue converts testosterone into estrogen; others speculate that more mass in the thighs could make the testicles too hot.
5. Massage body with herbal oil, which improves blood circulation.
6. Make love in the early morning or afternoon. Sperm levels are often highest in the mornings.
7. Avoid soy-based foods and high-fructose corn syrup. Soy foods have a mild estrogenic effect on the body. While that may be good for women, it’s not great for grooming sperm. High-fructose corn syrup causes insulin resistance, which lowers fertility. Men who drink a quart of Coke regularly have 30% sperm than men who don’t drink Coke.
8. Avoid hot baths and hot tubs.
Spending 30 or more minutes in water that is 102 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) or above can significantly lower sperm count.
9. Stay away from Environmental hazards and toxins (such as pesticides, lead, paint, radiation, radioactive substances, mercury, benzene, boron, and heavy metals).
10. Eat well, get hydrated and sleep well. Malnutrition and anemia can negatively affect your sperm count.
11. Eliminate alcohol intake. In addition to the general nutritional benefits of avoiding alcohol, avoiding alcohol may also assist with sexual performance issues. Also completely avoid smoking.
12. Avoid spicy, bitter and acid foods.
It is important to maintain good sexual health. Regular intercourse in a stable relationship reduces the chances of infections and improves the fertility