Habits that can affect men’s reproductive health

Photo: Shutterstock/New Africa

Male infertility is often overshadowed by discussions of female infertility. Although there are many causes for male infertility, one of the most important factors is low sperm production. It is estimated that 15 million to 200 million sperm are normally present in one millilitre of semen. If the sperm count is less than this, it is considered a low sperm count. Not just the number of sperm but also their shape and motility are crucial in pregnancy. Dr. Shweta Patel, the senior IVF specialist at Surat Christa IVF, says that following some of the habits described below will hurt men’s sperm count:

1. Sedentary lifestyle
An active lifestyle includes daily exercise. Setting aside 30 minutes for exercise five days a week will not only improve your strength and immunity but also your reproductive health.

2. Self-medication
Taking medicines as you like when you are sick, without consulting a doctor, can also affect your sexual health. Certain medications can adversely impact fertility. It is also important to discuss the side effects of medications with your doctor. Infertility can also be caused by some individuals injecting steroids to build up muscle and so on.

3. Unhealthy diet
Fast food is something that should be avoided as soon as possible by those who want to prevent fertility problems. A recent study has revealed that people who regularly eat processed meat have lower counts of normal sperm than others.

4. Obesity
Both overweight and underweight men face infertility problems. Being overweight can affect not only the quantity but also the shape of the sperm.

5. Unprotected sex
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, can lead to infertility. STDs affect reproductive health in many ways. Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea can affect sperm quality and motility. Safe sex can be followed by using safe methods such as the use of condoms, dental dams, and gloves, limiting the number of sexual partners, and getting tested for STDs frequently.

6. Keeping your laptop on your lap
A lower temperature than normal body temperature is required for sperm production. For this, the testicles are separated from the body and preserved in the scrotum. The temperature in the scrotum is 2-3 degrees below the normal body temperature. But keeping electronic devices like laptops on your lap, wearing ventilation-proof underwear, sitting on a bike, or other places for prolonged periods can cause the scrotum to heat up. This can affect sperm health and lead to infertility.

7. Smoking
Smoking and tobacco use can affect sperm count, shape, and motility. Smoking can cause DNA fragments in sperm cells to break apart. It affects the embryo and can cause various genetic problems in it. Smoking can also cause erectile dysfunction in men.

8. Alcohol consumption
Alcohol reduces levels of testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone in men and increases estrogen levels. It affects sperm production and can lead to infertility.

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