Tablets to increase sperm count: Do these supplements work on men? Harmful effects of prescribing these fertility pills | Health - Hindustan Times

Tablets to increase sperm count: Do these supplements work on men? Harmful effects of prescribing these fertility pills

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jun 12, 2024 09:08 PM IST

Male infertility: Fertility experts bust myths regarding tablets or supplements to increase sperm count; harmful effects of self prescribing these pills to men

Male infertility can be due to various health conditions and lifestyle factors, which lead to poor sperm parameters including sperm count, movement and shape that can lower the chances of pregnancy and one important factor is a low sperm count. There is a common misconception that taking tablets or supplements can significantly increase sperm count however, it is important to note that there is limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of such tablets in increasing sperm count.

Tablets to increase sperm count: Do these supplements work on men? Harmful effects of prescribing these fertility pills (Image by Freepik)
Tablets to increase sperm count: Do these supplements work on men? Harmful effects of prescribing these fertility pills (Image by Freepik)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Ankush Raut, Senior Consultant - Fertility and IVF at Apollo Fertility in Mumbai's Borivali, shared, “While some supplements may claim to boost sperm count, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement. Various factors can affect sperm count, such as lifestyle choices, underlying health conditions and genetics and it is essential to address these factors to improve sperm count.”

He revealed, “In some cases, certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, zinc, and folic acid, may be beneficial for sperm health. However, it is best to obtain these nutrients through a balanced diet rather than relying solely on supplements. Ultimately, it is important to approach any concerns about sperm count with a healthcare provider who can provide personalised advice and recommendations based on individual circumstances.”

For couples who are trying to conceive, infertility in either partner can be a hindrance in the path to success and while female infertility is often talked about, male infertility can also significantly affect a couple’s chance of conceiving. Various research has found that infertility is caused by female factors in a third of the cases, by male factors in another third and a combination of both in the rest.

Commenting on the same, Dr Jyoti Tripathi, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility in Indore, said, “Age does impact fertility and semen parameters, but low sperm count can affect individuals in any age group. Dr Jyoti Tripathi Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF, Indore says “One may not experience any major sign or symptom due to low sperm count. It’s mostly diagnosed on routine semen analysis done during a fertility checkup of a couple who cannot conceive. Several conditions could cause a low sperm count like diabetes, hormonal imbalances, certain genetic conditions, sexually transmitted infections, past surgeries, and environmental toxins. Other possible causes include unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, vaping, excessive alcohol consumption, and use of illicit drugs.”

Talking about treatment of low sperm count that depends on the cause, Dr Jyoti Tripathi said, “Some supplements or tablets may help to increase sperm count and quality, which include hormone supplements, antibiotics to treat underlying infections and some antioxidants. Various vitamin supplements and antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, zinc, folic acid, L-carnitine have been studied but their effects have been minimal unless there is a true deficiency. It is very crucial to take these medications only under medical guidance. Your doctor can guide you about the advantages and disadvantages of the same, as some dietary supplements, especially those taken in high amounts or for long periods, may have serious side effects.”

She cautioned, “However, while some medicines can potentially help in improving sperm count and fertility, their effectiveness also depends on other factors like the underlying cause of low sperm count and the individual’s response to treatment. It is also important to address other health issues and make necessary lifestyle changes instead of simply relying on pills. Without proper medical tests, one may misdiagnose the underlying cause of infertility. So, it is important to consult a fertility specialist who can evaluate and recommend the right treatment options to address the individual’s specific issue.”

Dr Jyoti Tripathi concluded, “A low sperm count can make it difficult and increase the time to conceive but it is still possible to get pregnant naturally with the help of proper guidance and treatment. Instead of solely depending on self-medications and remedies one should seek medical advice on time. Following a healthy lifestyle can help to improve the overall reproductive health. This includes having a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding tight undergarments, hot baths and saunas.”

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