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Know Men’s Daily Habits Causing Infertility?

by Outlook Health
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Conceiving a child is not the easiest thing in the world. Both men and women can suffer from infertility- a reproductive health condition that makes an adult unable not have children despite having frequent, unprotected sex for a year or longer. When talking of infertility, most people restrict it to women’s fertility issues. This has led to the passing of generations of men who have poor lifestyles that actually might have harmed their sperm. Researchers believe that the possibility of men infertility is more than women.

To conceive a child, men must produce healthy sperms that can be carried into the semen, produce enough sperms in the semen, and the produced sperms must be able to move and properly function. Infertility in males can happen if any of these is not taking place.

There are many internal and external male factors of infertility. The medical problems affecting male infertility include infections such as epididymitis, orchitis, and some STIs like gonorrhea or HIV; varicocele (swelling of veins that drain the testicles), defect of tubules that deliver sperms or semen efflux anti-sperm antibodies, tumors, hormonal imbalances, ejaculation problems, celiac disease, undescended testicles, chromosome defects, prior surgeries, certain medications, chromosome defects, and problems with sexual intercourse. Some environmental factors like exposure to certain industrial chemicals, X-rays or any radiation, heavy metals, or even overheating of testicles can lead to male infertility. Other than these, there are also lifestyle choices that can affect fertility in men.

This article focuses on the few men’s habits or lifestyle choices that can lead to infertile men or causes male infertility. The good news is that with a few tweaks to daily life, men can improve their sperm count and quality. [1, 2, 4]

Signs of Infertility in Men

The main symptom of infertility in men is the ability to provide healthy sperm in the adequate count to make their partner pregnant. Other than this, there are many noticeable signs and symptoms of male infertility including:

  • Pain, inflammation, or lump in the testicles area
  • Issues with sexual function- such as reduced sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and trouble ejaculating or releasing small volumes of ejaculated fluids
  • The appearance of male boobs or female-like breasts due to abnormal breast growth- a gynecomastia condition
  • Recurrent infections in the respiratory system
  • Inability to smell
  • Low sperm count- means either fewer than 15 million/milliliter of sperm in semen or a total sperm count of less than 39 million in every ejaculate
  • Reduced body or facial hair or other signs of a hormonal problem or a chromosomal abnormality.

It’s important to soon see a doctor and go for fertility test for men if any of the following problems are experienced by the patient:

  • Pain, discomfort, swelling, or lump formation in the testicle area
  • Surgery of the penis, groin, testicle, or scrotum
  • Having a sex partner aged above 35 years
  • Earlier records of the prostate, testicle, or sexual problems
  • Problems in penile erection or ejaculation, low sex drive, or other issues with sexual function. [4]

Daily Habits of Men That Impact Their Fertility:

  1. Alcohol Intake, Smoking, and Drug Use
    If one is thinking of having a baby, the foremost things that one must avoid are drinking excessive alcohol, smoking tobacco including vaping, and use of drugs like steroids, cannabis, and opioids. Heavy alcohol consumption can decrease testosterone levels and provide poor-quality sperm. Smoking can damage male fertility by reducing sperm motility, lowering sperm count, producing abnormally-shaped sperms, and increasing DNA fragmentation. The steroids can block the hormonal signals that are responsible for producing sperm while opioids can reduce sperm quality and quantity. [3]
  2. Sedentary Lifestyle
    Lack of regular exercise can affect men’s fertility as well as make them put on weight. Obesity can lead to hormonal imbalances which affect sperm production and fat deposits in the pubic region could lead to heating of the testis which hampers the production of sperm. If men engage in moderate physical activities for 30 minutes, five days a week, they can have better quality and count of their sperm. [1, 2, 3]
  3. Self-medication
    Non-prescribed medications can impact fertility in men. For instance, taking anabolic steroids (derived from testosterone) for muscular growth and bodybuilding can improve one’s appearance and physical performance but also negatively impact sperm production. [1, 2]
  4. Unprotected Sexual Intercourse
    Having unsafe sex with multiple partners can increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases in men and make them infertile. [1]
  5. Lack of Sleep or Prolonged Sleep
    Proper sleep or a well-rested body is fundamental for the proper functioning of the body. It is even associated with infertility in men. Researchers believe that both sleep deprivation and excess sleep can affect male fertility by reducing sperm production. [2]
  6. Unhealthy Diet
    A balanced, healthy diet is important for men to maintain a healthy weight. Men who are underweight or overweight experience changes in their hormones and sperm quality which renders them infertile. To improve the diet, one must incorporate whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. [3]
  7. Exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation and Pesticides in Food
    As per recent research, sperm count, motility, and morphology can all get affected by exposure to pesticides and electromagnetic radiation. To avoid pesticide exposure, men must buy organic fruits, vegetables, and packaged foods or grow their fruits and vegetables, and properly wash produce before having it. The everyday use of devices like laptops, cell phones, and microwaves must be limited or otherwise, the harmful electromagnetic radiation they emanate can make them infertile. [3]

How to Treat Male Infertility?

Male infertility treatment options may include:

  • Medications and counseling- to treat premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction
  • Antibiotics- to treat infection of the reproductive tract
  • Hormonal replacement therapy- includes medications that help maintain the levels of hormones in cases where male infertility is caused by high or low levels of certain hormones or there are issues in the way the body make use of hormones
  • Surgery- to correct varicocele, repair obstructed vas deferens, and reverse prior vasectomies. If sperm are absent in ejaculate, sperm retrieval techniques can be performed to take out sperm directly from the testicles or epididymis.
  • Assisted Reproductive technology- It involves obtaining sperm through normal ejaculation, donor individuals, or from surgical extraction and inserting them into the female genital tract or performing intracytoplasmic sperm injection or in vitro fertilization. [4]

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References:

  1. https://www.mensxp.com/health/sexual-health/111340-mens-daily-habits-causing-infertility-sexual-wellness.html
  2. https://www.thehealthsite.com/pregnancy/8-lifestyle-habits-that-can-lead-to-male-fertility-890100/
  3. https://www.malefertility.com/blog/lifestyle-habits-that-can-impact-male-fertility
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-infertility/symptoms-causes/syc-20374773

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