Male gynaecological issues that acupuncture treatment is effective for include:
• Male sub fertility
• Erectile dysfunction
• Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) (Chronic prostatitis)
• Inflammation of the prostate
• Urinary incontinence
• Prostate cancer
How common is it?
• Up to 15% of couples are infertile (no pregnancy after 12 months).
• In 30-40% of couple infertility the pathology is found in the man alone.
• In another 20% to 30% both the man and the woman are subfertile.
• Up to 60% of male infertility is unexplained.
• Therefore: Male subfertility may be a factor in 50% to 70% of cases of couple infertility and it is thought this figure is rising.
Falling Sperm Counts
• Significant decline in sperm density in the USA (1.5% a year) and Europe / Australia (3% a year) between 1938 and 1990.
• Aberdeen study 1989 -2002 (13 years) of 7,500 men with 20 million + sperm per ml). Average sperm count fell from 87m sperm to 62m = Decline of 29%.
• The number of men seeking treatment for fertility problems in Merseyside and Cheshire has increased by nearly 70% in the past four years.
• ICSI – intracytoplasmic sperm injection – now represents 60% of the ICSI/IVF treatment carried out at the Hewitt Centre at the Liverpool Women’s hospital, the third highest proportion at NHS clinics in the country. Overall 40% of infertility problems with a known cause in the North East of the UK are due to disorders in male fertility.
The average male sperm count has dropped by 45% since 1940. The WHO (World Health Organisation ) has dropped the 'normal' parameters by 50% in the last 20 years to accommodate these falling levels. This trend means that a 30 year old man in 2005 might have a sperm count of 32 million per ml - about one-quarter of the count of the average male born in 1925.
Recent studies have shown that men's fertility does decrease as they age, and that they have a biological clock that starts ticking in their 30's. This study has shown that the older a man is, the longer it is likely to take his partner to conceive irrespective of her age. When considering the inability to conceive it is equally important for men to address this as women.
Smoking has the worst affect on sperm, closely followed by alcohol, cannabis and being overweight. All of these damage the sperm and reduce fertility. Stress, overwork, environmental pollutants such as oestogens in the water, insecticides, fungicides, phthalates (anti androgens leached from plastics) are all factors that are considered to contribute to this rising phenomena of increased male sub fertility.
Male fertility is a growing issue in this society. This is a growing health crisis among men.
Acupuncture for male sub fertility is understood to improve the morphology (shape and structure) and the motility (how they move) of sperm as well as increasing sperm count. Acupuncture can help to increase the health of the sperm enormously. Even when sperm counts are 'normal' it is well worth considering this extra support to make the most of the sperm that are there.
We are often concerned that we are only treating half of the equation when women come to see us. If a couple is having difficulty conceiving then it is important that both parties take appropriate care to improve the health of the sperm and eggs. This is especially important when a couple have decided to use assisted conception.
Research suggests acupuncture can effect sperm:
• Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility
Jian Pei, Erwin Strehler, Ulrich Noss, Markus Abt, Paola Piomboni, Baccio Baccetti and Karl Sterzik. Fertility and Sterility, vol 84, issue 1, July 2005, pp141-147).
This study showed that acupuncture can improve sperm quality.
• Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment on patients with semen abnormalities
Gurfinkel E, Cedenho AP, Yamamura Y, Strugi M. (Asian) Androl. 2003 Dec;5(4):345-8)
This study showed that men receiving acupuncture had significant increases in the percentage of normal-form sperm compared to a control group.
• Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count? A pilot study
Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Lederman H, Bartoov B. (Andrologia. 2000 Jan;32(1):31-9.)
This study showed that acupuncture can increase both sperm quality and quantity.
• Influence of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in assisted reproductive technology.
J Huanzhong Iniv Sci Technolog Med Sci 2002;22(3):228-30.
This study showed that acupuncture can improve sperm quality and fertilisation rates in assisted reproductive technology.
• Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality
Arch Androl. 1997 Sep-Oct;39(2):155-61.)
Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Zabludovsky N, Bartoov B.
This study showed that patients exhibiting a low fertility potential due to reduced sperm activity may benefit from acupuncture treatment.