Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs in Richmond, VA
Wang, Xiaoyan, L. Ac., MD (China)
Phone: (804) 301-1784
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  Male infertility

In men, infertility is defined as the inability to fertilize the ovum, whereas sterility is defined as the lack of sperm production. Male fertility depends upon three things:

   1. adequate production of spermatozoa by the testes,
   2. unobstructed transit of sperm through the seminal tract, and
   3. satisfactory delivery to the ovum.

The World Health Organization (WHO) assesses male fertility via a sperm analysis, which measures the volume, count, motility and morphology of the sperm sample. The average male sperm count has dropped 45% over the last few generations. The cause of this drastic decline has been linked to the increased exposure to environmental pollutants. Other factors include alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and some prescription drugs.

Male infertility factors are easier to diagnose with Western methods than female infertility, but harder to treat. In cases of mechanical obstruction, the only potential remedy is surgery. Luckily, new microsurgical techniques have made it possible to repair obstructions or other problems. However, when it comes to hormonal abnormalities, western medicine has little to offer, as supplementation with testosterone, FSH, LH, or other hormones rarely improve sperm production significantly. If a man has some healthy sperm present, the doctor may recommend he and his partner try either an IUI or IVF procedure.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the Kidneys are responsible for all of our growth and development, our reproductive capacity and our aging process. Like every other organ in the body, the Kidneys have both a Yin and a Yang aspect. Infertility for both men and women almost always involves a deficiency of either Kidney Yin or Kidney Yang or both. In TCM, the Kidney also includes what we equate to our genetic makeup. This aspect of the Kidney is called Kidney Jing. Strengthening the Kidney Jing may also need to be addressed in a TCM infertility treatment.

Yin deficiency creates heat in the body. Sperm-producing cells do not function well in a warm environment. This internal heat is the main cause of poor sperm count and poor quantity and quality of seminal fluid. Some of the signs and symptoms associated with Yin deficiency are: premature ejaculation, restlessness, feeling hot especially at night, thirst, dark scanty urine, red face, red tongue with a scanty coating and a thin, rapid pulse.
Kidney Yang deficiency, on the other hand, will have signs such as intolerance for cold, frequent pale urine, fatigue, impotence, low libido, pale tongue and slow pulse. Low sperm count and poor motility can be explained by Kidney Yang deficiency. Older men typically fall into the yang deficient category.

Two other TCM diagnoses may contribute to male infertility. Damp Heat may accumulate in the genital region. Signs of Damp Heat would be abnormal discharge from the penis, painful urination, jock itch and yellow tongue coating. Qi and Blood stagnation may occur as a result of trauma or surgery to the testicles. A varicocele is the most common cause of male infertility. A varicocele is made up of enlarged veins in the scrotum on 1 or both sides. The veins make the inside of the scrotum warmer and can reduce sperm production by the testicle on the same side, which may cause obstruction leading to qi and blood stagnation.
Regardless of the TCM diagnosis, the quality and quantity of sperm and semen can be improved with traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture has been shown to be very effective to address sperm motility and to address those cases involving qi and blood stagnation. Here is a brief list of male health problems that acupuncture & Chinese herbal medicine can help:

   Premature Ejaculation
   Low Sperm Count
   Diminished Sperm Motility
   Testicular Pain
   Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy
   Male Climacteric (men-opause)
   Male Infertility

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