Do I Have To Do Semen Analysis?

When a doctor proposes a male fertility test such as semen analysis, the male patient is usually first taken aback. The issue of infertility has always been blamed on women – even when it has been proven that a woman is okay. For some reason, men view infertility as an intimidation of their manhood, yet it is not true.

One of the questions that men ask when the doctor recommends semen analysis is; do I have to do it? If your doctor proposes it, you should know it is imperative that you go ahead with it. He or she feels that it is important that you undergo male fertility testing – even if you have had a child or children before. There is nothing to worry about. If your doctor finds out that you do not have infertility issues, the focus will be put on evaluating the reproductive health of your partner.

After a vasectomy, doctors usually recommend a semen analysis to check if there is any sperm in the ejaculate. Your doctor might propose several of these tests after this procedure to ensure sterility.

Also known as sperm test, the procedure entails the collection of specimen (semen) in a jar. At the laboratory, the specimen is examined under the microscope to assess the sperm count, the appearance, shape, as well as the mobility. The lab technician also checks the semen to check if the sperm concentration is more or less than 20 million sperms/ milliliter of the ejaculate. If for instance your sperm count is found to be lower than the standard number, the fertility specialist might want to test the levels of blood testosterone, LH, FSH, as well as prolactin. Thankfully, men can rely on a wide array of supplements to improve the various parameters used in the determination of sperm quality.

Before producing a sample, patients are advised to abstain from ejaculating for 24-72 hours but not more than 120 hours (5 days). If you are collecting the specimen from your home or a more convenient place, make sure that it does not take you more than 90 minutes to get the specimen to the laboratory. It explains why patients are encouraged to collect the semen sample at a place that is proximity to the clinic. Note that the sample should not be exposed to extreme temperatures. To maintain a stable temperature, make sure that the specimen container (a special container is provided at the hospital) is kept in close contact with your body.

Sample collection may happen in one of the following ways:

  • Masturbation
  • Sex with condom
  • Sex with the withdrawal method

Your doctor will tell you how to prepare for the test. For instance, you will be asked to stay clear of alcohol, cigarette smoking, and recreational drugs for several days or weeks before the test. You may also be required to stop usage of herbal medications and other drugs capable of interfering with the accuracy of the results. Your complete cooperation is needed to boost the correctness of the test results.

What Is A Semen Analysis?

Approximately 50 percent of the time, men infertility issues are to blame for the delay in conception among the couples. For this reason, doctors and fertility specialists usually encourage men to have them checked to determine if they are the ones having a problem. While this makes the men quite uncomfortable – especially because they think that only women have infertility – it is imperative that you heed the advice of your doctor.

Semen analysis is one of the tests conducted by health practitioners to analyse the state of a man’s fertility. At the time of the test, the man is required to ejaculate into a cup. An ejaculate is achieved in either of three ways; masturbation, sex with a condom or the withdrawal method or an electricity-stimulated ejaculation.

The specimen is then examined by lab technicians for the following parameters:

  • Sperm count
  • Sperm concentration
  • Sperm morphology and
  • Sperm motility

Sperm concentration is used to measure the number of sperms per millilitre of a man’s ejaculate. The lower reference limit is estimated at 15 million/millilitre. Sperm motility entails the evaluation of the nature of the sperm’s movement, and the lower reference limit is 40 percent. Sperm morphology is aimed at determining the number of sperm with a normal shape. The lower reference limit, in this case, is 4 percent normal. On the other hand, the semen volume is a measure of the amount of semen per ejaculation, and the lower reference is 1.5 millilitres.

If cases of abnormalities are found, the doctor may instruct a repeat of the test to help in the identification of the degree, the type, as well as the persistence of the problem. Semen analyses usually differ. It all boils down to what has been happening in your life before the submission of the semen sample. Factors such as stress, fever, illness or intense exercise may impact the results of this test.

Preparing for semen analysis

Your doctor will have a lengthy discussion with you to help you prepare adequately for the test. It is imperative that you follow your doctor’s instructions to increase the accuracy of the results. Some of the things that you need to know include:

  • Do not ejaculate 24 to 72 hours before the semen analysis
  • Two to five days before the day of the test, do not consume caffeine, alcohol and recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine
  • Halt consumption of any herbal medications (even though this will depend on your doctor’s instructions)
  • If you have been taking any hormone medications, your doctor will advise you on when to stop depending on the date of the semen analysis.

That said, it is imperative that you let your doctor know all the medications you have been taking. Do not hide anything from him as doing so may lead to the production of incorrect results. Note that semen analysis is one of the most important tests for determining a man’s fertility. As such, patients are advised to give it their best by following the guidelines provided by their physicians to the latter.

5 Surprising Health Benefits Of Semen Retention

What is semen retention and why should anyone bother with it in the first place? It is the practice of avoiding ejaculation. For the longest time, the past philosophies and medical practices from India and Asia have emphasized the importance of semen retention – claiming it contributes to a healthier and longer life for the men. They argue that, since semen is essentially the very life-force of every man, it must be retained in the body to guarantee his health at all times.

While some things are laughable, a critical and objective evaluation of such situations or concepts may somehow reveal some sense. When a person argues that semen is the life force of men, it is easy to laugh it off. Now, imagine what happens immediately a man ejaculates. There is usually a sudden surge of energy.

In this article, we look at five surprising health benefits of semen retention.

A good way to bring back that vitality

Have you ever wondered why athletes and other sports personalities are cautioned against engaging in sexual intercourse a day or so before the game? It is mainly because a single ejaculation has the potential to deprive you of the physical energy and drive they need to perform well in the game. In that case, if you wish to bring back that energy, you may want to try this practice of semen retention. Apparently, one ounce of semen is equivalent to sixty ounces of blood – regarding value.

Mental health

Apart from the sudden dip in the energy levels of a man immediately he ejaculates, a general air of depression also becomes apparent. It is mainly because; the semen is made of substances with substantial physiological value – and most importantly to the brain and the nervous system. The chemical composition of the semen is remarkably similar to that of the central nervous system. Both of them contain phosphorus compounds, cholesterin, and lecithin. This therefore means that every ejaculation deprives the body of crucial nutritional elements of the nervous tissues, and in turn, interfering with your mental clarity.

Treats premature ejaculation

If you have been struggling with erectile dysfunction, and all other solutions have not been of much help to you, semen retention might be exactly what you are looking for. By practicing semen retention, it becomes possible for you to deal with sexual dysfunctions such as premature ejaculation.

Multiple orgasms

Also, you will have an easy time obtaining multiple orgasms in any sexual encounter. You will finally forget about rolling over and sleeping after just one round. This way, you are guaranteed of one important fact; you will be in a position to ensure optimal sexual satisfaction for you and your partner.

Increased sex drive

Low libido will become a thing of the past for you once you begin to practice semen retention. This practice is said to increase the amount of testosterone by about 45 percent. Popularly known as the sex hormone, testosterone plays a significant role in determining how well a man responds to sexual arousal, as well as his sex drive.

5 Unexpected Health Benefits Of Sperm – Yes, You Read That Right

You must already have heard that sperms contain proteins or other nutrients that your body is always in need of. Today, let’s shift our focus to five health benefits of sperms that probably you have never heard of – benefits you did not know existed in the first place. They include:

It takes care of your anxiety

We are constantly fighting with anxiety because of the never ending problems in our lives. Apparently, sperm can help you get rid of your anxiety because it contains hormones such as progesterone and oxytocin, as well as serotonin. Many people do not know that the greatest acceleration component for anxiety arises from oxidative stress – explaining why anxiety is usually accompanied by brain fog and issues to do with extreme tiredness.  The reason sperms are good for anxiety is because semen is rich in antioxidants that counter the oxidative stress.

Anti-inflammatory

Anyone who has suffered a lot of inflammation knows the struggle that comes with it. Some people have had to survive on the Lectin Avoidance Diet. However, it may please you to learn that semen may actually help you with your pain. Since it has the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant trait, semen never receives any form of opposition or attack when it enters the body of a woman. Some of the elements present in semen that gives it this anti-inflammatory property include the nerve growth factor, progesterone, oxytocin, cortisol, and testosterone, among particular prostaglandins. Present in semen, TGF-beta aids in generating tolerance for proteins.

Are you struggling with insomnia?

Have you ever wondered why you manage to sleep so well after your fulfilling sexual encounters? Well, if you have been attributing it to the fact that you are always worn out by the time you are winding up, you have been wrong all this while. The truth is; semen contains a chemical known as melatonin that is known to induce both relaxation and sleep. The manner in which you ingest it does not matter. The moment it makes it to your blood stream, it becomes the most effective sleeping aid, even better than your over the counter sleeping pill.

It is a multi-vitamin

Imagine having the opportunity to supplement your nutrients merely through the ingestion of semen. Apparently, every ejaculation delivers more than 200 proteins and a couple of other helpful vitamins, as well as minerals inclusive of fructose, chlorine, calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, sodium, the complex Vitamin B12, zinc, and nitrogen among many others. Semen contains a substantial amount of zinc that acts as an antioxidant capable of slowing the aging process. Nevertheless, the quantity of these nutritional components usually differs from one obliging male to another – depending on their relative health conditions and age.

May help in the prevention of prostate cancer

We are living in a time where so many people have cancer. If diagnosed in good time and treatment administered, prostate cancer is curable. However, before we get to the curing stage, we might as well choose to engage in activities that help in the prevention. Apparently, semen has been named as a natural and scientifically proven method of lowering chances of cancer contraction by over 50 percent. This trait is attributed to the presence of TGF-beta, selenium, and numerous proteins.

FAQs About Semen Volume Enhancers

If you have been asking yourself all sorts of questions about semen volume enhancers, you have come to the right place. Here, some of these questions have been answered. I hope you will find the information contained here useful.

What are semen volume enhancers?

They are products designed to increase the semen volume and the overall load. One may wonder why you would want to increase the semen volume in the first. Since it is responsible for transporting your sperms to the relevant parts of the female reproductive system (for conception reasons), it is okay for a man to engage in activities that promote increased semen volume.

Are semen volume enhancers just for men with fertility problems?

When you first read this question, you may think its rhetoric and even laugh at yourself. However, it is better to be sure of what you are dealing with.  Semen volume enhancer products usually help men dealing with fertility problems like low sperm count and motility.  However, any man who desires to improve the volume and intensity of his ejaculate will find them helpful.

Is there a connection between semen and orgasms?

Apparently, higher volumes of semen translate to better orgasms. Here is the thing; when you increase the amount of semen you generate, it makes your sexual organ to contract harder, and for an extended period. In turn, you get to enjoy longer and stronger orgasms than you did before.

What are the other benefits of using semen volume enhancers?

Semen volume enhancers are good at improving the sperm count and the amount of semen a man ejaculates at any given time. However, users may rely on these products to boost their general sexual health including improved fertility and more pleasurable orgasms. Unfortunately, men who are in search of a product that increases the size of their penises or erections may not find help with the semen volume enhancers.

When can I expect to witness results?

The majority of semen volume enhancers claim to have experienced a difference in the volume of their semen after a couple of days. However, drastic results are expected to take place in a month or two of usage.

Are semen volume enhancers safe?

The ones made of herbal extracts and amino acids are said to be safe. They do not cause the adverse side effects that are experienced with the use of popular pharmaceutical drugs. For this reason look for semen volume enhances made of effective herbs such as Semenax and L-Arginine. Such products generate dramatic outcomes. Individuals who have undergone vasectomy may also use semen volume enhancers, although they should not expect to improve their fertility – just the load, and the additional benefits mentioned earlier.

How can I buy semen volume enhancers?

Just like other male enhancement products, semen volume enhancers may be purchased online. Internet shopping gives the buyer complete anonymity and convenience.  Besides, it also allows you to conduct product comparison from the comfort of your Internet-enabled mobile device or computer. You just order, and then wait for it to be delivered to your doorstep.

Semen Acts As An Anti-Depressant

A huge proportion of the world pays little or no attention to the problems associated with depression. However, this can be blamed on the fact that people are unaware of the shocking statistics of depression – with respect to the number of people who suffer from it. Many people do not realize that depression is actually a common mental disorder. Over 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression at any given time, according to the statistics by the World Health Organization.

Unfortunately, depression has been named as the foremost cause of disability in the world, and therefore a huge contributor to the general burden of disease globally. In worse case scenarios, individuals who have this mental disorder end up committing suicide. It is also worth noting that more women are affected by depression compared to men. Thankfully, if noticed and handled in good time, there are effective treatments for depression. However, before we get to the alternative medical treatment available, let us consider what we already have within our closest reach – semen.

A research study that compared the moods of women whose partners use condoms, and those that don’t came to a conclusion that semen makes a woman happy. The researchers from the State University of New York discovered that women who are exposed to direct exposure of semen tend to be less depressed compared to the women who do not ingest semen. The group of researchers said that based on their findings they ruled out other possible explanations. However, a psychologist at the State University of New York, Gordon Gallup was quick to add that they were not in any way dismissing the importance that condom plays on matters of practicing safe sex or family planning.

Why semen is considered an anti-depressant

It turns out that semen contains mood-boosting estrone, oxytocin, and cortisol. Semen is also made of melatonin, the antidepressant prolactin, serotonin, as well as thyrotropin-releasing hormones. TRH is known for elevating moods in depressed and anorectic patients, according to the American Journal of Psychiatry. Semen also has essential minerals such as fructose, potassium, calcium, zinc and proteins. These essential minerals are essential for elevating moods and fighting depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. For instance, calcium is needed to keep your nerves and hormone under control.

Serotonin plays the role of a neurotransmitter – a chemical responsible for relaying signals from one part of the brain to another. Serotonin is manufactured in the brain, and that is where Serotonin plays the role of a neurotransmitter – a chemical responsible for relaying signals from one part of the brain to another. Serotonin is manufactured in the brain, and that is where it plays its major functions. However, 90 percent of this chemical’s supply is present in the blood platelets and digestive tract. Due to the manner in which its cells are distributed in the body, serotonin is believed to offer a wide array of psychological benefits. Out of the estimated 40 million brain cells, the majority of them are directly or indirectly influenced by serotonin, including the brain cells associated with moods, appetite, memory, sleep and some social behavior.

Low levels of serotonin might cause depression, panic, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or excess anger. It plays its major functions. However, 90 percent of this chemical’s supply is present in the blood platelets and digestive tract. Due to the manner in which its cells are distributed in the body, serotonin is believed to offer a wide array of psychological benefits. Out of the estimated 40 million brain cells, the majority of them are directly or indirectly influenced by serotonin, including the brain cells associated with moods, appetite, memory, sleep and some social behavior. Low levels of serotonin may result in depression, panic, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or excess anger.

How To Increase Sperm Without Pills

Discussions surrounding male fertility in men mostly revolve around sperm – both quantity and quality. In as much as no man wants to hear that their sperm quality or quantity is low, such conclusions are inevitable at times. While some men choose to utilize pills to improve sperm count, motility, as well as mobility. However, you may want to consider laying off the pills for quite some time, try the numerous natural methods available, and then see how things turn out. Here, we concentrate on natural ways of improving your sperm count without relying on the pills.

Lifestyle modification

It is amazing how a simple lifestyle adjustment can cause such as the tremendous positive difference in our sexual health, as well as the overall body health. There are things we do, feel guilty about them, and still find the guts to do them next time. To improve your sperm count, you must show 100 percent willingness to lead a healthy lifestyle. Bad lifestyle choices are perhaps the number one reason why you are dealing with low sperm count in the first place.

First and foremost, quit cigarette smoking as it is bad for the health of your sperms. According to a research study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, the effects of cigarette smoking goes beyond the sperm count. The bad habit also impairs sperm morphology (resulting in abnormalities) as well as motility. Heavy drinking also interferes with male fertility. It affects the libido, may cause erectile dysfunction, and also affects the quality of the sperm. While it is unclear what constitutes excessive consumption of alcohol, you may want to consider reducing your current intake or stopping altogether.

Having multiple sexual partners may also do you a disservice especially if you happen to contract sexually transmitted infections. STIs are known to disrupt the production of healthy sperms regarding both quantity and quality. For this reason, if you must have multiple partners at any given time, always use a condom – even though it is more appropriate to stick to one sex partner.

Another thing that you need to put into account is your diet. The foods you eat also affect the health of your sperm. You may want to begin by eliminating all forms of junks and foods that contain unhealthy fats. Aim at eating a balanced diet at all times. Limit your caffeine and diet drinks intake. Some of the most recommended sperm friendly foods include tomatoes, black chocolate, blueberries, lentils and oysters among many others. If you are overweight, pay for that gym subscription and make your way there several times a day. Irrespective of how tied up you are in your career, family, business or school work, you should find a way of obtaining some spare time to exercise. Obesity is a leading cause of infertility.

Lastly, give up those hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms – they are temporarily destroying the health of your sperms. Also, keep your phone away from the pockets that are close to your manhood. Do I really have to remind you that your laptop should be as far away from your lap as possible. Excessive exposure to heat raises the scrotal temperatures which in turn causes impairs your fertility.

How To Improve Sperm With Amino Acids

When a couple has trouble conceiving, a medical practitioner may recommend a semen analysis. This test is usually done to evaluate the health of a man’s sperms in order to determine if he has an underlying infertility. Semen analysis describes the state of several sperm elements such as sperm count, mobility, motility, as well as morphology.  Your doctor will help you interpret the results, and if the health of your sperm is questionable, he or she will help you to determine the way forward.

Among the things that are known for improving sperm quality and quantity are the amino acids. It therefore means that you have to watch your diet very closely. Consumption of foods that are rich in particular amino acids provides an incredible way of improving the different parameters of your sperm.  The four fundamental amino acids needed to improve your sperm include:

  • L-carnitine
  • L-Arginine
  • NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)
  • Glutathione

Benefits of L-Arginine

An essential amino acid, L-Arginine offers a wide array of physiological benefits. Besides improving the immune system, L-Arginine boosts the reproductive health. First and foremost, it helps to increase blood flow which is needed for the sufficient production of nitric oxide. Enhanced flow of blood guarantees the delivery of crucial nutrients that are required for the production of healthy sperm. When taken as a supplement, L-Arginine has the potential to raise the sperm count, in addition to improving the motility. Include foods like poultry, red meat, dairy products and fish in your diet to ensure sufficient daily intake.

Benefits of L- carnitine

L-carnitine is a semi-essential amino acid. It supports the health of the male reproductive system in various ways namely development, maturation and maintenance of sperm. It is highly needed during the formation and development of sperm in the testes. L-carnitine serves a major role in during the growth of the protective sperm membrane as well as in the forward motility. The absence of enough levels of L-carnitine leads to a decline in the sperm health. Foods such as peanuts, wheat, avocado and asparagus are great sources of L-carnitine.

Benefits of glutathione

An essential antioxidant in the body, glutathione plays the important role of protecting the sperm cells against the oxidative attack of the free radicals. The highly unstable free radicals are reactive elements that are manufactured during different bodily chemical reactions. Glutathione therefore works to prevent possible damage of the DNA present within the sperm.  Consider buying and consuming glutathione supplementation and other similar antioxidants to minimise the chances of the oxidative attack from the free radicals.

Benefits of NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)

A modified form of amino acids, NAC contain strong antioxidant effects. In addition to boosting the general quality of semen, NAC also plays the same role as glutathione of protecting the sperm cells against the negative effects of free radicals. Apart from supplementation, NAC is also available in foods such as soy, nuts, eggs and poultry.

Consider changing your diet to include the above forms of amino acids. In the end, you will be glad you did when you celebrate those highly anticipated pregnancy news.

How To Increase Sperm Count Naturally: Eat These 5 Food Items To Improve Male Potency

Low sperm count is one of the reasons why some couples have problems conceiving. While some individuals deal with severe cases of low sperm count, others just require a small boost to elevate their quantities to the levels needed. The standard sperm densities are between 15 and 200 million sperm per ml of semen. A person is said to have a low sperm count if he has less than 15 million/ml or below a total of 39 million per ejaculate. A semen analysis helps to determine the levels of the various sperm parameters including sperm count. If you suspect that your sperm count is low, eating the following five foods will give you a boost.

Watermelon

This fruit is among the richest sources of natural L-citrulline – a form of amino acids that converts to L-Arginine once it enters the blood stream. L-Arginine has earned a reputation for improving sperm count. As such, you may want to include a few pieces of fresh watermelons in your daily fruit portions.  Eat as much watermelons as you can – there is no harm in doing so.

Bananas

Pictures of bananas are normally used in magazines and online articles that concentrate on the penis size and the overall male reproductive health, because of its close resemblance with the male member. Bananas are rich in magnesium, vitamin B1 and C, and these elements help in the enhancement of both sperm motility and count. You may also want to take more bananas to harvest the rare enzyme, Bromeliad that is known for keeping the sex hormones in check.

Dark chocolate

Since time immemorial, dark chocolate has been utilized as a symbol of romance. What you may not have realized is its incredible benefits in improving your sperm count due to the presence of L-Arginine. This antioxidant also goes a long way in making sure that your sperm cells are protected against the attack of the harmful free radicals. If you are looking for something capable of prolonging and intensifying your orgasm, there is nothing better than dark chocolates. However, whatever you do, eat them in moderation.

Eggs

Cheers to a newly found reason for eating your eggs without the guilty feeling of consuming the cholesterol that so much characterizes the eggs. Eggs are rich in vitamin E, an element that helps in the development of healthy sperms. Eggs are also good for improving sperm motility and protecting the sperm cells from the harmful effects of the free radicals.

Spinach

If men were told to eat what they want, without the interference of their female partners, they would leave out greens in all their meals. While this little detail is understandable, you better begin eating spinach in plenty.  Spinach carries high levels of folic acid that are needed to promote the formation of healthy sperms. Men with low levels of folic acid produce abnormal sperms that are unfit for fertilization.  Unfortunately, if fertilization finally takes place amidst the abnormal sperms,  chances of congenital disabilities are extremely high.  Clearly, you would not want it to get this far while you very well know that such occurrences are preventable.

4 Tips To Boost Male Fertility, Sperm Quantity, And Sperm Quality

Nowadays, a sizeable number of couples are experiencing some form of difficulty when it comes to conception. It is almost becoming a very common problem. Traditionally, a woman was considered the one with a fertility problem when a couple was not able to conceive after months and months of trying. However, it is more helpful to know and appreciate that men too can have fertility problems, and I want us to focus our attention on this problem of male fertility today. To a large extent, male infertility may arise from the sperm – either in terms of sperm count, the nature of its DNA, motility, as well as mobility. The objective, therefore, should be to offer those sperms as much protection and boost as possible.

Therefore, lets us evaluate four essential and easy-to-implement tips for boosting male fertility, and both sperm quantity and quality.

Get rid of extra pounds

According to Live Science, an overweight or obese man may be the one delaying the chances of conception – especially if his partner is of normal weight, and does not have any established fertility problem. Excess weight also hurts the sperm quality as it reduces the count aspect and mobility. Being overweight also increases the likelihood of cases associated with damaged material in sperm (DNA) as explained by The American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Apparently, this adverse reaction has been linked to changes in the levels of testosterone and other reproductive hormones, due to the presence of too much body fat.

Are you struggling with any health conditions?

At times, male infertility might be caused by known health conditions, yet the man does little or nothing to keep them under control. Some of the diseases associated with male infertility include hypertension and diabetes. Other conditions such as varicoceles, otherwise known as cystic fibrosis – a situation where the veins in the scrotum become larger than normal due to overheating – are known causes of infertility in men, according to CDC. Keep in mind that some medications for treating or keeping these chronic medical conditions under control may interfere with your fertility. In that case, speak with your doctor to decide the best way to manage your conditions without hurting your fertility. Also, make sure that you are playing your role to the best that you can on matters to do with lifestyle adjustment.

Daily multivitamin

Daily intake of multivitamins causes no harm, but instead, delivers tremendous benefits. The majority of the multivitamins designed for men contain ingredients such as Vitamin C and E, herbs such as the powerful maca, as well as minerals such as zinc and selenium. The presence of antioxidants in your multivitamin may result in a noticeable increase in the sperm count and mobility. Antioxidants usually protect the quality of sperm against free radicals that have the potential to destroy the DNA present in the sperm cells.

Stay clear of excess heat

Turns out, frequent use and extended stays in hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas, could raise scrotal temperatures which in turn lead to low sperm count, mobility, and motility. Nevertheless, do not worry yourself much because these types of heat exposure do not usually cause a permanent negative impact on your sperm quality and quantity. Once you stop exposing your manhood to this kind of heat, your sperm count and overall quality should return to normalcy in a couple of months.