Reduced fertility in men today is far more common than people realize — the great news is that people are speaking about their health concerns more openly. We are moving into an era where people are recognizing that reduced fertility in male partners is by no means indicative of a person’s virility or manliness – and this change in perception is freeing people and allowing them to seek care. If you are someone who suspects you might have difficulty conceiving a child, both you and your partner are encouraged to seek Naturopathic Medical care, which at the very least, will be able to improve your overall health.
I have compiled a list of questions and answers for you, particularly since knowing what to expect and what questions to ask at your appointment can help you feel more at ease as you prepare for your appointment. Remember, whatever you discuss with your Naturopathic Doctor is kept confidential. There are no embarrassing questions you could possibly ask – so don’t hold back, and ask them all.
When should I see a healthcare provider?
Both partners should consider getting tested if pregnancy fails to occur after a year of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. A comprehensive work-up with your Naturopathic Doctor, Family Doctor or Fertility Specialist can can help uncover the causes of infertility, and can also detect other potentially serious medical problems as well.
What topics might my ND want to speak with me about?
There are several factors that may affect fertility that will be important to discuss. Your Naturopathic Doctor will likely ask you about frequency and timing of sexual intercourse, duration of infertility and any previous fertility events, childhood illnesses and any problems in development, past or current illnesses (diabetes, cancer, previous surgeries), sexual history (including any sexually transmitted diseases), any exposure to toxins (such as chemicals or radiation in the workplace or home), history of any medications and allergies and any family history of reduced fertility.
What treatments may be prescribed?
Treatments are geared towards understanding what the cause of your problems are. Your Naturopathic Doctor will offer many suggestions, some of which will include an examination of your nutritional intake, and a discussion around lifestyle and environmental factors that may be contributing to decreased fertility (ie. quitting smoking, reducing heavy drinking). You may be counselled to incorporate the following nutrients to increase sperm count, improve sperm quality and motility as needed: essential fatty acids, zinc, vitamin E, selenium, glutathione and arginine. If you have a low sperm count, it may be recommended that you pace your sexual activity to accumulate sperm.
Going for a fertility evaluation can provoke a lot of anxiety, however your fertility issues can only be dealt with by seeking help. Don’t let a fear of having your suspicions confirmed deter you; it is in your best interest to know what it is you are up against and what it will take to overcome those obstacles, particularly if you or your partner are in a time-sensitive situation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploring your fertility care options – so do just that!