Balancing Hormones To Improve Male Fertility
Many people incorrectly assume that hormonal imbalances and infertility are solely a woman’s issue. However, about 33% of infertility cases are caused by male reproductive problems, and another 33% by both male and female reproductive issues are from unknown factors. With such staggering statistics in mind, men must be considered when assessing a couple’s inability to get pregnant. When male hormone problems are at play, different treatment options are available to correct the issue and improve fertility.
Male reproduction is driven in large part by a proper balance of hormones. The endocrine system is responsible for producing gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which stimulates the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland. Together, these hormones play a pivotal role in reproduction, with LH stimulating testosterone production and libido and FSH helping to regulate sperm.
If male-factor infertility is suspected, the healthcare provider will likely start with an assessment of the male partner. If no apparent physical problems are present, bloodwork can be ordered to take a closer look at hormone levels. This type of test is usually done first thing in the morning.
Treating low LH and FSH
If certain hormones, such as LH and FSH, are low, the healthcare provider will attempt to determine the underlying cause. Supplemental hormones are typically prescribed to correct the imbalance if an insufficiency is noted. With hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to supplement low levels of naturally occurring LH and FSH, many men see improved fertility.
Get ahead of thyroid problems
Another common hormone imbalance in men is problems with the thyroid. Untreated hypothyroidism can cause erectile dysfunction (ED), low sperm count, poor semen quality, and reduced testicular function. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism has been shown to cause decreased semen volume and reduced sperm motility and morphology. Both types of thyroid problems can be treated with medication. Once a prescription is started, levels should return to a normal range, and the condition should not affect fertility.
What about insulin?
Diabetes is another common health condition that can affect men. When diabetes is not well controlled, ED, reduced sex drive, lower ejaculate volume, and reduced sperm quality can occur. Consistent use of insulin shots to control diabetes can help prevent reproductive issues.