What causes male infertility and how can you reverse it?
Here is an explanation by an expert on what causes male infertility and how you may reverse it.
Male fertility plays a crucial role in reproductive health and the ability to conceive. Research suggests that certain lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on male fertility, leading to infertility.
Fortunately, there are various ways to address and reverse these factors, offering hope to couples seeking to overcome fertility challenges.
India Today spoke to Dr Beena Muktesh, Clinical Director- Fertility and IVF, Motherhood Fertility and IVF to spread more light on the subject.
Here’s a list of factors that affect male fertility.
1. LIFESTYLE FACTORS:
Diet and nutrition:
- The impact of a healthy diet on male fertility.
- Nutrients are vital for sperm production, such as zinc, folate, and antioxidants.
- The detrimental effects of obesity and nutrient deficiencies on fertility.
- The negative impact of smoking on sperm quality and quantity.
- The harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption on fertility.
- Illicit drug use and its association with male infertility.
Physical activity and weight:
- The benefits of regular exercise for male fertility.
- The risks of excessive exercise and strenuous physical activity.
- The correlation between obesity and reduced sperm quality.
2. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS:
- The influence of elevated scrotal temperature on sperm production.
- The potential effects of hot baths, saunas, and tight clothing.
- Occupational hazards involving exposure to excessive heat.
- The impact of environmental pollutants, pesticides, and toxins on fertility.
- Occupational exposure to chemicals and their effects on sperm quality.
- Precautionary measures to minimize chemical exposure
3. MEDICAL FACTORS:
- The significance of testosterone, luteinising hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in male fertility.
- Conditions such as hypogonadism and hyperprolactinemia affect hormone levels.
- Treatment options to restore hormonal balance and improve fertility.
- Definition and prevalence of varicocele, a condition involving enlarged veins in the scrotum.
- The negative impact of varicocele on sperm quality and fertility.
- Surgical and non-surgical interventions to treat varicocele.
Infections and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs):
- The link between infections, STDs, and male infertility.
- Common infections affecting fertility, include chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
- The importance of timely treatment and prevention strategies.
4. PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS:
- The impact of chronic stress on male reproductive function.
- Stress-related hormonal changes and their effects on fertility.
- Coping mechanisms and stress reduction techniques.
Mental health disorders:
- The influence of conditions like depression and anxiety on male fertility.
- The side effects of psychotropic medications on reproductive health.
- The significance of seeking professional help and managing mental health.
HOW TO REVERSE MALE INFERTILITY
One crucial factor that can cause infertility in males is alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking can harm sperm quality, volume, and vitality.
However, reducing alcohol intake at least three months before attempting to conceive can reverse these effects and decrease sperm DNA damage, thereby increasing fertility.
Additionally, getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is essential. STDs can cause inflammation in the testicles, leading to fertility issues, and can also increase the risk of transmitting HIV and affecting pregnancy rates.
Proper testing and treatment can improve sperm count and alleviate blockages caused by inflammation.
Maintaining the right temperature for the testicles is also crucial for spermatogenesis. Exposure to excessive heat from sources such as hot tubs and saunas can reduce sperm motility and increase defects.
Minimising wet heat exposure before and during conception is advisable to mitigate these negative effects.
Furthermore, environmental toxins, such as those found in certain occupations and everyday products, can harm semen quality and sperm concentration, motility, and morphology.
Limiting exposure to toxins in the environment, food, and cookware can help preserve fertility. Other lifestyle adjustments, include reducing soy intake, as soy products contain phytoestrogens that can damage sperm concentration.
Avoiding trans fats, found in processed foods with partially hydrogenated oils, is also recommended since they have been linked to decreased sperm counts.
Managing stress is crucial, as chronic stress can disrupt hormone production, spermatogenesis, and sperm quality. Incorporating relaxation techniques like yoga, exercise, and meditation can reduce stress and improve fertility outcomes.
Sufficient sleep, typically 7-8 hours of good quality sleep, is important for sperm health.
Lastly, regular low-intensity or moderate-intensity exercise can improve overall health and increase testosterone levels. However, excessive high-intensity exercise can negatively affect fertility.
Striking a balance and incorporating regular low-intensity exercise into the routine can benefit fertility.
By making these lifestyle adjustments, men can enhance their fertility and increase their chances of successful conception. It’s essential to consult healthcare professionals for personalised advice and guidance tailored to individual circumstances.