Have You Considered Low Level Laser Therapy for InfertilityLisanne Wellness Center
If you and your partner are struggling with infertility, you aren’t alone. In the United States, approximately 15% of couples have difficulty getting pregnant. Infertility can be caused by numerous factors. Some, like polycystic ovarian syndrome, affect women and some, like low sperm count, affect men. And sometimes it’s a combination of male and female factors.
The most common causes of male infertility are related to testicular function. The testicles must produce enough high-quality (shape, motility) sperm, which then needs to combine with an egg for conception to occur. Other problems are often related to hormonal imbalances or blockages in reproductive organs. Variocele (enlarged veins in the scrotum) can reduce sperm quality and quantity and are present in about 40% of infertile men.
There are many options when it comes to addressing fertility issues and it is important to consult a healthcare practitioner to determine which is best for you. One of those options is low level laser (or light) therapy (LLLT) – a non-invasive treatment that could help boost your fertility.
What is LLLT?
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) has been around since the invention of the ruby laser in the 1960s. It has many therapeutic uses including wound healing, inflammation reduction, hair growth, pain management, and fertility. LLLT involves exposing cells or tissues to low levels of red and near-infrared (NIR) light. It is called “low level” because the energy used is a lower power than other forms of light used for cutting, ablation, etc.
Light is part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation (ER); the rays range from radio to gamma. ER has properties of both particles and waves. As a wave, light has an amplitude (brightness), wavelength (color), and polarization (angle of vibration). The particles that makeup ER are known as photons – packets of energy that move at the speed of light.
Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation and works by emitting light through optical amplification based on stimulated photon emission. When a laser’s light hits a biological tissue (skin), some of the light gets absorbed, some gets reflected, and some are further transmitted.
How it Works?
There’s convincing evidence that LLLT acts on the mitochondria (the powerhouse of your body’s cells). LLLT increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, protects from damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS), and acts on certain proteins which trigger downstream effects like cell growth, migration, and oxygenation.
Energy metabolism is a key factor when it comes to sperm function. Sperm movement is powered by the midpiece of the sperm, which contains a mitochondrial sheath. LLLT may help improve sperm motility by increasing a cell’s energy supply through increased ATP production. One study found that irradiating human sperm with a low-level laser improved their progressive motility. Another study found that irradiated canine sperm maintained and improved its motility over time and that its movement was more effective.
You can also think of LLLT as similar to acupuncture, in the sense that it balances qi, but uses light instead of needles.
Is it Safe?
Because of its potential to help men overcome fertility problems, scientists have been investigating LLLT’s safety. One study found that LLLT exposure had a positive short-term effect on sperm motility and didn’t cause DNA damage when measured two hours post-irradiation.
What to Expect
LLLT will likely be one component of your fertility treatment. Your healthcare practitioner will do an assessment and discuss the pros and cons of LLLT, alternative and complementary treatments, and will develop a plan tailored to your needs.
One major benefit of LLLT is that it is non-invasive. It is a comfortable process that does not involve shocks or needles like some other forms of therapy. You will feel the light touch of the laser and some people report mild tingling. Sessions are short, and the duration of laser application will be dependent on the area and dose you require.
To reap all the benefits from LLLT, make sure that you are engaging in other fertility-promoting behaviors. These include eating a healthy diet (whole fruits and veggies, whole grains, omega-3 fats, lean meats, limiting processed food and added sugars), getting regular exercise, managing stress (try meditation, yoga, deep breathing, etc.), and nourishing healthy supportive relationships with your significant other and other members of your social circle.
For more information on LLLT or to schedule an appointment, contact Lisanne Wellness Center today at 713-461-WELL.