How does lifestyle affect men’s fertility?

Poor Lifestyle choices could have a profound effect on a person’s health. In fact, the WHO states that 60 percent of health problems/risks are linked with a person’s lifestyle. And if you are wondering if fertility is on the list, then it’s a resounding YES! According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, in around 40% of infertile couples, the male partner is the sole cause or contributing cause of infertility.

One of the important reasons why this happens is the lack of awareness of young men who become prone to peer influence, get addicted to bad lifestyle habits and gradually find themselves trapped in the cycle of infertility problems. Sometimes the effects due to lifestyle choices are so detrimental that it may carry it forward to the future generations. In India, very little attention has been given to men’s preconception education and health care which indirectly cause infertility problems, making them less ready for their future life.

Looking at the brighter side, the effects can really be reversed by just a little amendment and discipline in your lifestyle. Learn about how some lifestyle choices you unknowingly make could cause devastating effects on your fertility health and what you could do to reverse it.

Give up tobacco and smoking

smoking

In April of 2016, European Urology published an analysis on the effect of smoking on semen health. The study revealed that toxins found in cigarettes are frequently to blame for bad health effects. Smoking exposes men to high levels of cadmium and lead, metals that have been linked to decreased fertility.

If you are a chain smoker, it’s quite necessary to quit smoking because in most cases, if you stop using these substances, sperm production eventually returns to normal. However, it can take at least one full cycle of sperm production (seventy-four days) before most sperm is healthy and show up in normal amounts in your semen.

Give up the excessive intake of alcohol and recreational drugs

alcohol

Studies reveal that heavy intake of alcohol was found to have a detrimental effect on both semen quality and the levels of male reproductive hormones. However, although the effects of alcohol on male reproductive function are dependent on the intake amount, a threshold amount of alcohol beyond which the risk of male infertility increases has not yet been determined.

Even in this case, the effect can be reversed in approximately in a sperm production cycle if you take effort in getting yourself de-addicted to the habit.

Watch your food intake

food intake

Problems with your weight can lead to fertility problems. Eating lots of junk food at once can lead to your blood sugar spiking which may affect your fertility health. Obese males are associated with a decrease in sperm quality and a greater risk of infertility.

A recent study stated that weight loss can cause improvement in certain fertility parameters and restore fertility health to reasonable levels. If your BMI is ≥30 kg/m2, it’s strongly recommended to talk to a doctor and chalk out an exercise plan. Check your BMI often and try planning out your meals for the week, making easy choices with foods you enjoy.

Avoid self-medication

self medication

The casual habit of popping in an antibiotic could cause you more harm than expected. An excerpt from a study states the following findings:

“Antibiotics including tetracyclines, gentamicin, neomycin, erythromycin, and nitrofurantoin (in extremely high doses) can negatively affect sperm generation, movement, and density. Cimetidine, the active ingredient in Tagamet, can sometimes cause impotence and semen abnormalities.”
Not just on facets of fertility, self-medication is also linked with a rising health concern-antibiotic resistance. Read this blog to learn about in detail.

Try some stress busting activities

exercise

Though it’s not known as how stress necessarily affects male fertility, a few studies point to stress to directly affect the semen quality.

Another study states that stress could trigger oxidative stress – physiological stress on the body caused by damage from unneutralized free radicals – which has been associated with semen quality and fertility. Stress is a common thing and there isn’t a way to cope out of it. Indulge yourself in stressbusting activities and take time to relax. Here’s a blog article that could give you some practical ideas on how you could beat stress.

Get some sound sleep

get enough sleep

Poor sleep duration is one of the most common habits of millennial men and women today. Many don’t realize that the adversities of lack of sleep is much beyond just physical and mental health. A recent study linked poor sleep duration to men’s fertility. Among the 790 couples, researchers noticed that men who slept less than 6 hours a night had 42 percent reduced probability of conception in any given month. However, though the direct correlation between sleep and fertility has not been found,the study strongly suggests that 7 to 9 hours of sleep helps to optimize men’s fertility and their chances of contributing to a pregnancy.

The bottom line

Your health is not something that you own. It also belongs to your family as much as it does to you. It’s advisable not to put your health to stake for a few temporary pleasures. Anyways, it’s never too late to begin. You could take a new leaf anytime and watch your life turn for the good.
What are your thoughts on this article? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
For advice and expert guidance on conception, you can book an appointment with Dr.Sasikala Natarajamani from Crea Conceptions.

References:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277543.php

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2090598X18300068

https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/making-fertility-friendly-lifestyle-choices

https://www.verywellfamily.com/bad-habits-to-break-to-increase-fertility-1959950

Getting Better Care is the Need of the Hour

Almost one billion people around the world have no access to healthcare – care which could mean the difference between life and death. Furthermore, hundreds of millions are forced into poverty annually by the cost of accessing their local healthcare services. Affordable, effective, and efficient healthcare services are the need of the hour.

Closer to home, in India, public healthcare is free for those below the poverty line. But more and more people seem to be relying on private rather than public healthcare in spite of the former’s higher costs. Statistics compiled from the National Sample Survey (NSS) Rounds in 2014 show the change in the percentages of hospitalised cases in public and private hospitals. 

Is Self medication a possible life threat?

It is a question that has been in debate for a very long time ever since allopathic medicine started dominating the medical world. India is a country known for its Ayurvedic and Siddha treatments using natural medicinal plants which were often homemade. So the basic question that might arise in the mind of a common Indian would be ‘When I have the basic knowledge to treat my own ailment, why should I waste my time and money consulting a doctor?’

Reasons for Self-medication:

Various studies had been conducted across India about self-medication among the general public and a recent survey shows us that around 52% of Indians self-medicate. Self-medication is influenced by various factors depending upon the location and the distribution of the demography. In the rural area, it is mainly due to the unavailability of the facilities and doctors. It is quite appalling to know that there is only one government doctor for every 11,528 people and one doctor for every 1,681 people. This proportion may seem satisfactory considering India’s population but the real problem arises when most of these doctors decide to practice in cities rather than serving in the rural area. But, the scenario with the urban population is entirely different, besides having all the facilities and options to consult a doctor people still tend to self-medicate. The reason for this is mainly lack of awareness about the side effects that any drug can cause if taken at wrong dosage level.

Lack of time, unavailability of doctor’s appointment and inessential consultation for episodic illness are some of the common excuses given by educated people for self-medication. Whereas limited visitor’s time in the OPD of government hospitals, quite high consultation fees in private clinics, lack of insurance coverage for consultation are some major shortcomings in our health system that lead to self-medication in economically weaker people.

How reliable is your source?

With increasing web users and volume of data on the Internet, all the information has now become an open source for anyone to access. This might be considered as a boon in many fields but with regards to the healthcare sector, it is often considered as a disadvantage. At present, almost all information about medicine or a disease can be read from thousand websites available online but the reliability is always questionable. Apart from online sources, people tend to buy medicine from the suggestions given by friends, family, medical students, and pharmacy’s sales person. Though it is advisable to buy OTC medicine directly from the pharmacy, no one actually checks whether the person standing in the medical shop is a pharmacist. The old prescription is also found to be one of the major sources of the self-medication but it’s often forgotten that any prescription can be used only once unless or until doctor specifically mention that it can be used for a particular period or until next review. The reason for this is, microbes that cause disease in our body may get resistance to certain medication or due to change in our food habits and other external factors certain drug may stop working for a particular person. It is always advisable not to use the old prescription and an unethical practice for a pharmacist to give you medicines based on expired prescription.

A possible life threat:

Even paracetamol, the most common drug bought over the counter without prescription is proven to cause kidney damage if taken for a very long period and poisonous when overdosed. Almost all drugs available in the market at present are proven to cause many known side effects if not taken as per physician’s advice. Before prescribing any medicine for common cold or fever, a doctor will check the weight, age and surface area of the patient to calculate the dose; look patient’s current and past medication history and also check the vital signs to make sure that drug is suitable for that particular patient. If multiple ailments are diagnosed, the doctor will also make sure that the drugs prescribed by him will not lead to contraindication and gives diet suggestions to avoid drug interactions. Certain studies across the globe have also proved that self-medication can be beneficial to some extent but mostly they are in the favor of the system. Better use of physicians and pharmacists skills, reduced burden for government due to health expenditure linked to treatment of minor health condition, economic benefits for both patients and the government, availability of doctor’s time for emergency case rather than treating minor ailments are some the claimed benefits of Self-medication but it hardly compensate for the demerits of self-medication. Bacterial resistance, dependence, digestive bleeding, hypersensitivity reaction, drug withdrawal symptom are some of the serious health risk involved in self-medication. There may be a lot of information available over the internet for self-medication but when it comes to a serious thing like health there shouldn’t be any doubt or second thoughts. Awareness and education about the demerits of self-medication in modern day medicine can only help reduce self-medication.

Consult a registered pharmacist on Klinikals if you have any doubt about any medicines.