What is Oligospermia?
Semen is a white or grey liquid, but it can occasionally appear yellowish. Pink or red semen suggests that blood is present. Although this is very rare and happens only 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.
Oligospermia is the condition in which semen has a low concentration of sperm and is the leading causes of infertility. A man whose ejaculate contains less than 20 million sperm per milliliter is said to suffer from this condition. A complete absence of sperm is called azoospermia.
The WHO defines ‘normal’ sperm count as:
- 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.
Ayurvedic View on Sperm Count
The classical Ayurvedic text “Charaka Samhita” has an entire chapter purely dedicated to boosting the quality and quantity of sperms. Let us look at the properties of high-quality sperms as defined by the ancient medicinal text:
- Bahal (thick)
- Madhur (sweet)
- Snigdh (unctuousness)
- Guru (heavy)
- Picchill (slimy)
- Shukla (white) in color
- No peculiar smell (Healthy sperm should smell like honey – called madhugandhi in Sanskrit)
In Ayurveda, oligospermia is addressed as Shukranu Alpata. This is a common problem due to a disturbed daily routine, irregular food habits, stress and exertion on account of a fast life. Ayurveda outlines several ways to increase male fertility by increasing sperm quality and quantity. One of the most important parts of Ayurvedic infertility treatment includes fixing issues such as indigestion which gives rise to toxins (ama) that cause blockage in the channels carrying semen. Hence, one of the primary ways to increase male fertility includes following a healthy diet and exercise regime.
Symptoms of Low Sperm Count
- Primary symptom of oligospermia is subfertility or infertility
- Burning while urination
- Testicular pain
- Thick discharge from the penis
- Dilated veins in the scrotum and swelling
- Erectile dysfunction
Causes for Low Sperm Count
- Infected semen
- Wearing tight or ill-fitting underpants
- Bathing in very hot water or saunas
- Sitting for long hours
- Being overweight in which fat layers sag on testicles to reduce sperm count
- Very frequent ejaculation also leads to lowered sperm count
- Smoking and excessive alcohol intake
- Overexertion physically and mentally
- Zinc deficiency
- Infections present in prostate gland
- Malformed genital organs: Undescended testes (a structural problem where the tubes that carry sperm can be damaged and blocked)
- Anabolic steroid use
- Varicoceles (Varicose veins around the testes)
- Certain medications
- Mumps orchitis in childhood
10 Ways to Increase Your Sperm Count
1. Reduce the frequency of sex & masturbation: The more times you ejaculate, the less dense your semen will be. Maintain a gap of 3 days between two consecutive ejaculations. Make love in the early morning or afternoon. Sperm levels are often highest in the mornings.
2. Refrain from habits like smoking and alcohol consumption: Alcohol affects your liver function, which in turn, causes a dramatic rise in estrogen levels. Even two drinks a day will have long-term effects on sperm production.
3. Exercise regularly: Exercising your PC muscle can help you shoot further than ever before.
4. Eat nutritious food: A diet that’s low in fat, and high in protein, vegetables and whole grains is good for your health and for your sperm. Avoid bitter, astringent and spicy foods. Reduce caffeine intake.
5. Avoid heating of testicles: Wear comfortable, cotton boxer shorts. Avoid hot baths and saunas so that the testicles are not subjected to heat.
6. Lose excess weight: Obesity or abnormal weight tends to cause testosterone/estrogen imbalances.
7. Reduce stress levels: Learn relaxation techniques to keep your mind and body healthy with the regular practice of yoga and meditation.
8. Massage or Abhayanga: Practice Body massaging with herbal oil such as ksheerabala as it increases blood circulation and sperm count.
9. Try supplements: Certain natural supplements help to increase sperm production. Check out some herbs prescribed below.
10. Bathe in cold water: This is because the scrotum should ideally be 4 degrees cooler than the temperature of the body. It’s only then that the testes can produce the best sperm count range and quality.
Ayurvedic Supplements to Increase Sperm Count
Ayurveda shows several ways to increase sperm count and quality such as those mentioned above. Apart from diet and exercise, there are also Ayurvedic herbs to increase sperm count. These herbs are known as “vajikaran dravya” and provide the strength, energy and stamina like that of a horse.
Safed Musli: A well-known aphrodisiac that is highly effective in enhancing sexual strength. This herb is often known as the “herbal Viagra” for its ability to increase a man’s sex power and physical stamina.
Shilajit: A potent Ayurvedic sex supplement, this is actually a resin found high in the Himalayas. It is a time tested remedy used to improve sperm quality for centuries. Shilajit is also known to improve sperm count. Because of its anti-aging properties it can keep a man youthful so he can enjoy sex for a longer period in his lifetime.
Ashwagandha: One of the top aphrodisiac agents known to increase sexual stamina. It also improves blood circulation which in turn, enhances sexual health by fixing issues such as stamina and sperm production. This herb is known as Indian ginseng because of its rejuvenating powers to enhance vitality and sex drive.
Shatavari: Shatavari has been used to increase sexual vitality in men since ages. Its regular consumption can increase and prolong sexual arousal and erections. Shatavari can dramatically revitalize a man from a wide variety of sexual dysfunctions, strengthen the sexual organs and reduce inflammation in the reproductive system. This herb is a definite winner for oligospermia as it has been shown to increase testosterone in males.
Ghee + milk + sugar: This classic combination is very good for increasing sperm count and quality. Generally, take foods which are sweet, fatty and nutritious, and which give pleasure to the mind. For example, food items like ghee, milk, Saathhi rice, udad daal, black raisin (munnakka), eggs, fish, etc. These foods are specially mentioned in Ayurvedic texts like the Charaka Samhita to treat infertility, oligospermia, azoospermia, premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction/impotence.