Infertility is not a rare concern today and contrary to popular beliefs, the reason behind infertility of 50% couples is male infertility. Medical science has been aware of this pattern for some time and developed several solutions to overcome the problem of sperm quality. Most couples suffering from male infertility is able to conceive via IVF. However, modern lifestyle has a lot to do with the count and motility of the sperm and with some alterations in habits the quality of sperm can be saved.
The list of damages smoking can cause to the human body is long. The toxins in cigarettes are capable of causing a decline in sperm count, motility and density. Studies show that an average smoker’s sperm density will face a decline of 23% and sperm motility will go down 13%. These will pose significant issues with the chances of sperm reaching the egg and penetrating it.
Contemporary researches are associating smoking with abnormal sperm morphology as well. Paternal smoking may also be associated with congenital abnormalities and childhood cancer. The effect on hypothalamic-pituitary- gonadotropin axis can disrupt with the normal production of estradiol and estrone and the Leydig Cells that produce testosterone will also have secretory dysfunction.
Marijuana and cocaine use often causes decreased sperm count, motility, and cause abnormal morphology. It affects the hormonal axis, causing a decrease in production of plasma testosterone. It may also have a direct adverse effect on the Leydig Cells. Such impacts are found in men who have been using cocaine for at least two years. Cocaine also decreases the capacity of sperm to infiltrate cervical mucus, making it difficult for them to enter the uterus.
Anabolic Steroids use is a popular trend that can cost you. These male hormones suppress the testes’ability to produce testosterone, further decreasing the intratesticular testosterone level. This can cause severely disrupted spermatogenesis or complete absence of sperm. When taken, these steroids cause a persistent depression of the hypothalamus and pituitary that may be irreversible, even when the steroids are stopped.
Start a healthy workout routine
Obesity has a negative impact on male reproductive potential. Along with reducing sperm quality, it alters the physical and molecular structure of germ cells in the testes and ultimately mature sperm. It is important to burn those extra calories to increase the reproductive potential. However, long distance runners and cyclers have decreased spermatogenesis. Hence, a moderate routine is the key to getting rid of obesity and improving sperm production.
Include sufficient vitamins in your diet
Just like any other organ of human body, sufficient nutrition is significant for reproductive system as well. A diet rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B9 (folic acid) and zinc will keep the reproductive health of men in check. While Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis, development and maintenance of normal sperm, Vitamin E reduces damages caused by free-radicals.
Sufficient Vitamin E protects polyunsaturated fatty acids and other oxygen-sensitive substances such as vitamin A and ascorbic acid from oxidation. Folic acid is essential for normal sperm count and sperm concentration. And zinc takes care of the normal function of the prostate, which makes a portion of the seminal fluid. Molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are part of the semen are also regulated by these vitamins as their abnormal level scan results in significant damage to sperm.
Moderate your alcohol consumption
Excessive use of alcohol affects the hormonal axis and can result in liver dysfunction and nutritional deficiencies that are also harmful to sperm production. It can drastically reduce testosterone production. Because testosterone is a significant part of the male reproductive system, the deficiency of it will cause a wide range of additional effects including reduced libido and inability to get an erection. However, moderate consumption of alcohol usually doesn’t affect male fertility.
About the Author
Dr. Parasuram Gopinath is the Senior Consultant & Scientific Director at CIMAR Fertility Center with branches in several parts of Kerala. Tamil Nadu & Dubai. After Dr Parasuram completed his post-graduation in Obstetrics and Gynecology, his work has been mainly focused on infertility and embryology. He had undergone further training in Advanced Reproductive Techniques like Oocyte Cryopreservation, IMSI, IVM etc. from several centers in Singapore, Germany & Canada. He has personally done over 3000 ICSI procedures and was instrumental in introducing the technique of IMSI in South India. He is an Invited speaker at Several National conferences on Infertility and do also have several publications to his credit.
Dr. Parasuram Gopinath, MBBS. MS(OBG)
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