Today I will continue the topic of fertility. All the things that I covered in my first article on the topic in relation to women also apply to men, except of course the increased need for folic acid during pregnancy.
There is one thing that is specific to men. The reason why men have testes (i.e. the site where sperm is produced) outside of the abdominal cavity is because production of sperm requires a slightly lower temperature than normal body temperature. This difference in temperature is only about 2 degrees Celsius, but it is very important. Increasing the temperature by only 1 or 2 degrees can hinder sperm production to the point of infertility. This is why it is important for men not to wear tight underwear. Such underwear keeps the testes close to the rest of the body, thus increasing the temperature of the testes and hindering sperm production.
One interesting birth control concept for women is the use of birth control pills. This has three benefits.
- Birth control pills stop the menstrual cycle. Therefore the lining of the uterus does not grow and get thicker like during a normal cycle. This dramatically reduces the risk of a condition called endometriosis. Basically, this is uterine tissue that somehow (there are many theories how this actually occurs) ends up not only in the uterus, where it should be, but also outside the uterus like for example on the surface of ovaries or in the abdominal cavity. In majority of such cases, this leads to infertility.
- Another benefit of birth control pills is that they stop ovulation, which preserves more eggs in the ovaries. As there are a limited number of eggs, and they do not divide, it makes sense to preserve as many as possible for the time when pregnancy is desired.
- Finally, birth control pills dramatically reduce the symptoms of PMS (i.e. premenstrual syndrome). Although unrelated to pregnancy and fertility this effect does increase the quality of life of women.
Another important point is the frequency of the timing of unprotected sex between partners. When trying to conceive, sexual intercourse should happen on a daily basis. This is especially true during ovulation, around the 14th day of each menstrual cycle. It is also the 14th day after the beginning of menses (i.e. menstrual bleeding). However, the exact time is hard to predict, so unprotected sex (protected sex does not allow for the sperm to reach the egg) should be performed with a higher frequency starting at day 12 and ending at day 17.
Another very important point is for women not to douche. It’s a fancy word for washing the internal vagina with soap and water. This removes the normal bacterial flora in the vagina. These are mainly lactobacilli bacteria, which help maintain the inner vagina in a healthy state. When these good bacteria are removed by douching, it leaves room for bad bacteria and/or yeast to flourish. Most of the time, the two pathogens actually invade together. When this happens, the inner vagina gets inflamed and becomes a very inhospitable environment for sperm, thus leading to infertility. In bacterial infection, there is a yellow green discharge, and in yeast infection there is a chunky white discharge. In both conditions, there is unpleasant aroma. Both conditions can be treated with antibiotics. When doing so, it is a good idea to replenish the vagina with good bacteria after treatment. A simple yet effective way that this can be achieved is by soaking a tampon in kefir or sour milk and inserting it in the vagina for eight hours. This will help prevent the recurrence of the conditions listed above and will create a very favourable environment for sperm.
These are the main tips for increased fertility. But I also recommend readingPart 1 on this topic if you haven’t already done so. You will find some very interesting and practical tips there as well. All the best, and see you next time.