How to cope with male infertility

Infertility is a problem which can have a profound impact on an person and his relationship. Advice is most frequently focused on women, but we concentrate on men’s infertility in this Spotlight section, and include some science-based tips for coping with it.

Male infertility can be a heavy burden to bear.
Male infertility can be a heavy burden to bear.

When the term “infertility” rears its alarming head, the majority of people think first of all of female infertility.

Males, however, are responsible for 20–30 percent of infertility cases and “contribute to total 50 per cent of cases.”

Men and women tend to react differently to the experience of infertility: traditionally , women have assumed that men are easier to deal with the issue, but in fact, men are actually less likely to open up about their emotions.

It can be a painful feeling to discover you are infertile. A man could perhaps feel less male and as if they have failed.

Many people think their identity is wrapped up in their ability to give a child to their partner, and therefore thinking they have lost that ability may generate powerful negative emotions.

What causes male infertility?

Firstly, infertility is worth defining. This is described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the inability of a sexually active, non-contraceptive couple to achieve pregnancy in 1 year.”

Male infertility is attributed, in most cases, to an abnormal sperm. There are often small sperm counts, although there are at times none at all. Or, however, the sperm can not be great swimmers, or deformed.

There are a variety of ways such problems can be induced including:

  • testicular infection
  • testicular surgery
  • varicocele, or varicose veins in the scrotum
  • hypogonadism, or testosterone deficiency
  • mumps
  • radiotherapy
  • cystic fibrosis
  • some medications, including anabolic steroids

The list continues. Yet, still, the faulty sperm has no well-defined cause. And in many cases , despite good sperm and no apparent reproductive health problems for the wife, pregnancy remains difficult to achieve.

Crack a window and let some hope in

For certain cases, impregnating a woman is difficult for a man but that is fairly rare. There’s always a chance, in most cases. When you’ve tried for a very long time, it may seem like there’s no hope — but, generally speaking, there is.

If you haven’t seen an infertility doctor yet, you should take that into consideration. They will pin down where there may be a question, and offer general tips and advice. Speaking with an expert can also make you know you ‘re not alone.

There are choices too. Most couples, for instance, now conceive through in vitro fertilization ( IVF). In reality, 1 million IVF babies have been born in the United States over the last 30 years. It’s important to note that when you go through this difficult time, there are other routes to follow.

The remainder of this article includes tips on handling the mental and realistic side of infertility.

1. Get the facts

Above all, find out what’s going on. If you just think you ‘re infertile, or you didn’t make a baby despite a year or so of trying, it’s time to get checked. There’s no point beginning a journey into sorrow without even understanding if it’s justified.

Go to an expert, and check the sperm. Please raise questions. Learn all you can. Understand what your particular problem is, and what this means for your conceptional chances.

2. Make plans

One of the toughest aspects of male infertility care is not understanding how long it will last. Making plans will make you feel like you are still in control, whenever possible.

Set targets and limits. Discuss with your partner what treatments you are able to go through, and what emotional and financial rates you can accommodate both. Pregnancy is always the product of prolonged activity, whether through treatment with natural intercourse or fertility. When you both end up as financially destroyed, dessicated mental husks it will benefit no one.

Include all kinds of choices. Go about all of the options — adoption, IVF, or sperm donor. Understanding and talking about potential avenues will help should you face any setbacks further down the road — and if one thing doesn’t work, you’ll know what you’re trying next.

3. Take control

There are also scientifically validated ways to enhance the consistency of the sperm. Even the simple act of taking back some control will go a long way in helping to cope with infertility; it fights off the overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

Eating right can improve both sperm quality and general well-being.
Eating right can improve both sperm quality and general well-being.

The list below is by no means exhaustive but it includes some basic (and scientifically supported) steps that can be taken to give your sperm the best chance to meet and greet an egg.

Eat right. Lay off meat items in short, and load up on veg. It is difficult to understand the exact impacts of total food consumption, but a diet that includes lean meats, fruits, legumes, and grains tends to enhance sperm motility.

Hold proper weight. There are relatively good associations between being overweight and being male infertile.

Reduce stress. No, I’m not joking, although it does sound like a joke. Infertility stresses you out, which in effect may intensify infertility. And unfortunately the proof suggests it’s possibly real. The coping strategy section below offers some information on mitigating the effects of stress … and breathing.

Become involved. While there has been no conclusive proof of the correlation between physical exercise and sperm quality, being physically active can avoid obesity, which is definitely related. Exercising also helps alleviate tension, so it’s worth sweating. Bicycling for only 5 hours a week could do the trick according to one report.

It’s worth mentioning that there are a host of companies selling “magic” pills and supplements to turn your sperm into tiny athletes but, as I’m sure you already know, there’s a lack of evidence for these kinds of products.

There are also other habits to be avoided for enhancing sperm health:

  • smoking,as it lowers sperm count and increases the risk of misshapen sperm
  • alcohol, asitreduces testosterone production — it is therefore sensible to moderate drinking
  • don’t use lubricants during sex, as some may hinder sperm
  • keep your balls cool, ashot testicles, according to some studies, may be less efficient at producing sperm — so avoid hot tubs, tight underwear, and saunas

Speak to a doctor about drugs that may interfere with sperm development, such as blocks of calcium channels, tricyclic antidepressants and anabolic steroids.

4. Talk about it

The men don’t want to talk about their issues according to traditional assumptions. Although this assumption sometimes holds true, this is not the case for all. As cliché and trite as it might sound, “a common problem is a half of the problem.”

Keep communication channels open. You don’t have to transmit it far and wide, but speak to someone: a physician, a nurse, a friend, a counselor, a support group — anybody. It will lighten your burden, and they could offer a new perspective.

If any of the following symptoms occur frequently, it is necessary to speak to an infertility qualified doctor or counselor:

  • abusing drugs or alcohol
  • thoughts about harming yourself or others
  • becoming angry or abusive easily
  • losing interest in things that you once enjoyed
  • insomnia or sleeping much longer than usual

5. Develop healthy coping strategies

It ‘s easy to let stress build up until you crack. Many people are better at managing it than others, but sometimes everyone will let it get their best.

So finding ways to loosen the stopcock every once in a while is important. The coping strategies below will help keep the thinking straight and narrow.

Exercise
Exercise can help to manage infertility physically and mentally.

Keep moving. Everything you do — whether it’s weight lifting, running , swimming or basketball — whatever it’s, get sweaty a couple of times a week. Exercise has been shown consistently to assist with stress reduction. Nothing moving about prices so take advantage of it.

Relax. Men, on the whole, are less likely than women to get a massage, but times change. Even though a massage isn’t something you would normally consider, it’s a very good way to de-stress. Some healthy choices include meditation and yoga.

A major meta-analysis published in JAMA in 2014 for example, concluded that:

“Mindfulness meditation programs had moderate evidence of improved anxiety […] depression  […] and pain.”

Sure, “moderate” doesn’t sound fantastic, but it means a real, statistically relevant impact has been measured in the sense of a JAMA study. So, adding it alongside other coping strategies could really help.

Write. Not everyone is a natural author, and since they were at school, most people didn’t try to write anything substantial. No one tells you though that it has to be written somewhere. The simple act of writing your thoughts can help you work through the way you feel and begin the process of dealing with it.

If you want to write it down and set it on fire immediately or store it away for a future you’ll be learning doesn’t matter. It is the act of writing itself that is important.

And this isn’t just another of those wishy-washy interventions; the actual thing is “writing therapy.” This is not especially commonly used, otherwise known as written disclosure counseling, although there is some evidence to indicate that it can have beneficial effects on psychological well-being and can even reduce blood pressure.

Cry. Yet again, the male stereotype dictates that we will never shed a tear — at least not while looking at others. But nowadays there are plenty of men ready to cry every now and then. So if you’re in private, so know you ‘re not going to be interrupted, open the floodgates. This is a genuine cathartic release.

Dr. Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist with 20 years of clinical experience at the University of California, Los Angeles, writes, “Typically, after crying, our breathing and heart rate decrease, and we enter into a calmer biological and emotional state.”

Laugh. You can’t push it, and it may feel like the last thing you want to do on earth — but it does help. At the same time, it acts as both exercise and stress relief. Put on a movie you know is going to tickle you, or hang out for a while with your buddies. Should not cover yourself in a darkened corner.

The last word

Infertility affects people in a variety of ways – physically and emotionally alike. This is important to note, though, that you are not alone, and that there is support available. Keep it active, speak and handle your body and mind well.

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