Asthenozoospermia is an infertility condition in men where in a man produces sperms with low motility. Motility is the ability of the sperm to move forward swiftly and in a straight line. It is an essential requirement for natural conception. Reduced sperm motility decreases the chances of the sperm to successfully fertilise the egg in the female reproductive tract.
It has been established that a single sperm consists of three parts:
• The head which contains the genetic material
• Midpiece which is made up of cells that create energy to enable the tail to move
• Tail also called flagellum which helps in propelling the sperm forward.
Asthenozoospermia intercepts the production of cell energy that helps the sperm swim easily into a woman’s uterus, thereby causing infertility. Sperm motility plays an extremely crucial role in the process of conceiving. The ejaculated sperm has to be quick to penetrate the cervical mucus, swim up into the uterus, and finally penetrate the layers of the egg to fertilise the ovum.
A healthy sperm motility rate is around 25 micrometers in each second. In the case of asthenozoospermia, there might be no movement at all or movement at the rate of 5 micrometers per second.
Asthenozoospermia may be:
• Partial where there are minor motile cells amongst a large number of immotile sperms or
• Complete where all the sperms are immotile.
There are no outward symptoms of Asthenozoospermia and most cases are diagnosed in infertility trials. Inability to fertilise an egg is the most relevant symptom of Asthenozoospermia. Some men may experience low sexual drive, but Semen analysis is needed to confirm the occurrence of this condition.
Although asthenozoospermia causes are not exactly known, it is recognized that sperm motility may be affected by factors such as:
• Seminal tract infections
• Excessive alcohol, coffee or tobacco consumption (or other drugs such as cocaine and marijuana)
• Age (sperm mobility decreases after a man reaches 45)
• Oncologic (cancer) treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy
• Febrile episodes
• Testicular problems
• Antisperm antibodies
• Poor nutrition habits
• Exposure to toxic agents such as solvents or insecticides
• Prolonged heat exposure in automobiles, saunas or hot tubs
If you and your partner have been unable to conceive for over a year, visiting a doctor would be a good idea even though your sperm count is normal. Most of the time it is possible that the sperm count is appropriate but the motility of majority sperms may be poor.
Asthenozoospermia can be easily diagnosed with the help of a seminogram (or semen analysis) for which a fresh semen sample needs to be provided. This test is performed following a 3-5-day sexual abstinence period.
For fertilization to occur the percentage of progressively motile sperm must be greater than 50 percent and the number of motile rectilinear-trajectory sperm with speed of 25 micrometers per second must exceed 25 percent.
Fertility treatments to achieve pregnancy when suffering asthenozoospermia include:
• Artificial insemination, where a previously capacitated couple or donor sperm sample is introduced into the woman’s uterus just at the time of ovulation. This method is only recommended in women under 35 and only when there are no other detected infertility causes.
• In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which allows to join the patient’s eggs with an improved quality sperm sample in a special laboratory dish under controlled conditions to increase the likelihood of a successful fertilization.
• In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Microinjection (IVF + ICSI). In this specialized procedure a single sperm is carefully introduced directly into the cytoplasm of a mature egg using a microscopic needle via micromanipulation. This technique offers the highest pregnancy rates by disregarding sperm motility as a necessity to fertilize the egg. This is thus the best option for couples with severe asthenozoospermia.
Lifestyle Changes –
Asthenozoospermia treatment should always be complemented by healthy lifestyle advices, which in some cases can help restore fertility.
Some lifestyle changes may help increase sperm motility for some men:
• exercise regularly
• maintain a healthy weight
• limit cell phone exposure
• reduce alcohol
• quit smoking
Some supplements may also help improve sperm motility. For example, 52 percent increase in sperm motility in men who took a daily supplement of 200 micrograms of selenium along with 400 units of vitamin E for at least 100 days in a row.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
Ayurvedic approach is more holistic then target oriented. The main aim in low motility is to improve sperm health. Many herbs like Ashwagandha, Kapikachu(Kaunch beej), Vidari, Musli helpful in treating male infertility. The following protocols of Ayurveda and Panchakarma helps in treating, low motility and low sperm count cases, in male infertility –
• Shodhan: Cleansing / Detoxification is the primary step for any fertility treatments. Its helps in removing toxins (aam) from the body and also increases the absorption of nutrients from food.
• Rasayan: The word “Rasayan” means attaining excellent rasadi dhatus. It helps in optimum quality and quantity of rasa dhatus, which ensures that all the tissues in the body will be naturally nourished properly. It improves micro-circulation in the body thereby producing good quality body tissues.
• Vajikaran : Aphrodisiac ayurvedic medicines is advised depending on the patient’s condition.
• Diet: Food plays an important role in nutrition of the body. Diet planning depending on the patient’s needs is advised.
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