How Does Chinese Medicine Treat Male Fertility Issues?
Male factors account for approximately 40% of all fertility problems. One reason for this is that the average male sperm count has dropped significantly over the past few generations. For example, the average male sperm count dropped 45% between 1940 and 1990. Semen volume has also dropped, reducing the total number of sperm by 50%. The number of men with low sperm counts has tripled, while the number with high sperm counts has decreased. The reasons for declining sperm counts seems to be our increased exposure to environmental pollutants, increased use of recreational drugs and alcohol, and prescription medications, such as antibiotics. Studies show that although smokers generally have lower sperm counts and more abnormal sperm, once smoking is stopped sperm improve significantly within 6-12 months.
In a 2005 study published in Fertility and Sterility, acupuncture was shown to significantly improve several aspects of male fertility. The group that received acupuncture had a 50% improvement in sperm motility, while the group that did not receive acupuncture had only a 32% improvement. The number and percentage of healthy sperm also increased dramatically in the acupuncture group, increasing more than four-fold after 10 sessions of acupuncture. In addition, significant changes in sperm structure and quality were seen in the acupuncture group, with an increase from 22.5% normal shapes to 38.5% normal shapes.
Since new sperm generally take 72 days to form, treatment for male factors is usually recommended for a minimum of three months.
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