Fertility drugs for men are believed to improve testosterone levels by balancing the hormones. Thus, these drugs improve sperm health and may enhance men’s fertility. However, not much research has been conducted on how these fertility drugs affect men. Moreover, there are only a few drug options available that help in enhancing sperm production. Nonetheless, some research explains how the drugs can improve the condition of men with pituitary gland-related hormonal disorders (1). Keep reading the post to understand what fertility drugs are available for men, how they act in the body, and their side effects.
Different Fertility Drugs For Men
Most of the conventional fertility drugs prescribed for women are also used to treat infertility in men as the same hormones control reproduction in both. Here are some of the common fertility drugs that doctors prescribe:
- Clomiphene is a non-steroid medication that is used to boost the production of pituitary hormones, the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and the luteinizing hormone (LH). They direct the testicles to secrete testosterone and produce healthy sperm (2).
Research studies on Clomiphene are few and have mixed results. While some studies have shown no effect, some have shown a little improvement in pregnancy rates (3).
- Gonadotrophins (hCG and hMG) stimulate the testes to produce testosterone and sperm. They are sometimes used in combination with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) (4).
- Letrozole is used to treat sperm issues related to obesity. This is known to increase testosterone levels in the body. Letrozole is usually a one–pill-a-week treatment (5).
- Bromocriptine prevents the release of prolactin hormone in the body, as it causes a reduction in testosterone levels. This may be prescribed for men who have sperm impairment due to hyperprolactinemia (6).
- Imipramine is used for treating retrograde ejaculation. It might revert the abnormal ejaculation of sperm from the bladder into the penis (7).
- Anastrazole (Arimidex) is usually suggested when the estradiol levels are higher, and testosterone levels are lower. It may be prescribed for improving sperm production (8).
- Synthetic testosterone pills, injections, or gels were considered earlier, as they were believed to replenish the low levels of natural testosterone in the body. However, recent studies say it may have adverse effects on fertility (9). You should consult your doctor, though.
Remember that these medications cannot be used for fertility unless prescribed by a doctor. Hormonal medications can have side effects that may change how your body works.
How Do Fertility Drugs Work In Men?
Fertility drugs are likely to work in the following ways (10):
1. Stimulate hormonal production
Infertility treating pills and injections contain synthesized hormones or hormone-like substances. They establish a balance between different hormones responsible for reproduction and increase testosterone levels in men.
2. Improve semen production
The primary factor that affects men’s fertility is the inability of the genitals to produce semen. In such cases, the medication may increase the production of healthy and motile sperm. In some cases, it might also increase the production of seminal fluid.
3. Normalize blood sugar levels
Sometimes, elevated blood sugars might cause infertility in men and women alike. In such cases, the drug might help keep the blood sugar levels under control and prevent diabetes as well as infertility.
4. Stimulate blood flow
Fertility drugs may not only restore the activity of reproductive organs but also stimulate blood flow. They help in conditions where infertility is a result of poor blood circulation in the genital area.
5. Increase libido
Fertility medications also contain aphrodisiac properties. They might help boost men’s sexual drive, therefore, improving the sexual life of the couple.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Fertility Drugs In Men?
Side effects may not be the same for every drug. The unpleasant implications of some of the commonly prescribed medications are discussed below (11).
Clomiphene side effects are usually mild and include:
- Weight gain
- Vision changes
- Changes in libido
- Breast enlargement
Gonadotrophins can cause side effects, such as:
- Soreness at the site of injection
- Changes in libido
- Breast enlargement
Bromocriptine side effects include:
- Liver problems
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal body movements
Therefore, discuss your issue with the doctor and let them prescribe the right medicine for you.
Can You Boost Male Fertility Naturally?
Any fertility problem should be discussed with a qualified medical practitioner. There are no quick, natural treatments for improving your fertility, but you may follow these healthy practices.
1. Improve nutrition and diet
A balanced diet will raise your chances of conceiving. Make sure your food has the required amounts of minerals, vitamins, and iron. Nutritional deficiencies can impair hormonal functioning, prevent sperm production, and lead to abnormal and unhealthy sperms.
- Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and seeds as they help boost fertility.
- Drink water and keep yourself hydrated.
- Try to maintain a weight that is ideal for your age and height.
2. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise may improve testosterone levels. Studies show that men who exercise regularly have better semen quality and higher testosterone levels (12).
However, you should avoid excessive exercise as that can have an opposite effect on fertility. If you are not sure about what exercises to do, talk to a trainer. They may be able to help you with the right exercise regimen.
3. Include nutritional supplements
If your doctor sees the necessity, they may prescribe nutritional supplements that might help increase sperm count and/or motility (13).
- Vitamin C helps prevent the sperm from sticking together and improves the chances of fertility.
- Zinc supplements may help increase testosterone levels, sperm motility, and count.
- The body produces arginine upon protein digestion. Arginine is needed to produce sperm cells. You may have meat, poultry, dairy, fish, nuts, and chocolate to obtain this compound.
Treatment methods ensure that infertility is cured or mitigated. But there are ways of preventing infertility too.
Can Male Infertility Be Prevented?
It is possible to prevent only lifestyle-related fertility issues.
- Abstain from nicotine, alcohol, and illicit drugs: they affect sperm motility and morphology
- Avoid being overweight: there will be alterations in the sperm cell morphology
- Avoid things that raise testicular temperature such as wearing heavy/tight clothing, taking long and hot baths, using sauna, cycling, etc.
- Do not overstress; you could try meditating if you get stressed easily
- Avoid exposure to heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxic agents
- Avoid mobile and laptop radiations as they result in less sperm motility
- Avoid sexually transmitted diseases
- Avoid using plastic containers for storing food, wraps, utensils, and bottles as the chemicals in the plastic cause hormonal imbalances
- Use only non-bleached paper, coffee filters, toilet tissues, and napkins as they are safe
- Avoid chlorinated tap water
- Prefer organic foods to avoid pesticides and herbicides
- Avoid synthetic cosmetics and deodorants as they contribute to hormonal disruption
- Avoid animal products with high-fat content
- Avoid fried, barbecued, and charcoal-broiled forms of cooking
Infertility in men is an issue that can affect mental peace. But fret not, as there is hope for its management with some of the most commonly used infertility drugs for men and effective home remedies. Certain factors can cause infertility, and you may start by working on them and avoiding such practices. Remember to consult your doctor before resorting to any medicines, as these may sometimes induce negative impacts if taken without a prescription.
2. G. L. Foss et al.; The Treatment Of Subfertile Men With Clomiphene Citrate; Journal of Reproduction & Infertility (1973)
3. Willets AE et al.; Clomiphene for the treatment of male infertility; Reprod Sci. (2013)
4. J Rajkanna et al.; Successful fertility treatment with gonadotrophin therapy for male hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism; Endocrinol Diabetes Metab Case Rep. (2016)
5. Letrozole is a promising new treatment of male infertility; The Endocrine Society; Science Daily (2015)
6. Laufer N et al.; Effect of bromocriptine treatment on male infertility associated with hyperprolactinemia; Arch Androl. (1981)
7. Ochsenkühn R et al.; Imipramine for successful treatment of retrograde ejaculation caused by retroperitoneal surgery; Int J Androl. (1999)
8. Treatment of Low Testosterone; The University of Virginia.
9. Amir Shahreza Patel et al.; Testosterone Is a Contraceptive and Should Not Be Used in Men Who Desire Fertility; World J Mens Health (2019)
10. Ali A. Dabaja and Peter N. Schlegel; Medical treatment of male infertility; Transl Androl Urol. (2014)
11. Male Fertility Drugs; University of Utah
12. Vaamonde D et al.; Physically active men show better semen parameters and hormone values than sedentary men; Eur J Appl Physiol. (2012)
13. David F Yao and Jesse N Mills; Male infertility: lifestyle factors and holistic, complementary, and alternative therapies; Asian J Androl. 2016