Does Your Phone Hurt Your Fertility?
For years, men have been advised to avoid heat near or on their groin area because too much heat can negatively impact sperm production. This advice normally includes the usage of laptops, tablets, and mobile phones – all devices that can heat up with continued use and are either rested on top of the groin or placed near it (such as in your pockets). However, some research suggests that heat isn’t the only issue when it comes to electronic devices and sperm health. According to a recent study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, phones can also harm male fertility by disrupting your sleep.
What Does the Study Say?
The study notes that male participants who reported a higher cell phone usage before bedtime were unable to achieve optimal quality and quantity of sleep. Over time, this sleep degradation resulted in a lowered sperm count, regardless of age, which ranged from 21 to 59 years in the study. On the other hand, men who did not use their phone or a tablet device prior to sleeping were able to enjoy longer periods of quality sleep. These men also had higher sperm counts as well as greater sperm motility.
This study was among the first of its kind, and fertility specialists like Dr. Martin Bastuba are keen to note that, for men, it’s often simple lifestyle factors that can have a significant impact on fertility. A small change in your routine, be it regarding diet, exercise, or less device use (especially at night), can make an actual difference in the quality of your sperm.
How Can I Improve My Fertility on My Own?
In some cases of male factor infertility, medical care from a fertility specialist will be required regardless of best intentions. It’s important to seek consultation with a doctor if you suspect an issue or if you and your partner have been unable to conceive for six months (if the female partner is age 35 or older) or a year (if the female partner is under age 35).
If you do not suspect a fertility issue at this time and simply want to invest in the best possible overall health, including fertility, then these are some excellent first steps:
- Address a high BMI (if you have one): Obesity and additional weight should be addressed with appropriate lifestyle changes in diet and exercise. Please consult with your general practitioner if you wish to begin a new nutritional regimen.
- Exercise should be moderate: Intense exercise can sometimes lead to lowered levels of testosterone, which can ultimately have an effect on your sperm count and motility. Some extreme exercises also pose risk of injury to the groin area, which can potentially damage the male reproductive system’s structure.
- Rethink risky activities: If you typically enjoy extreme sports or fitness activities that involve situations where your groin could be injured, perhaps consider trying something new where fertility is unlikely to be at stake. This is especially needed if you plan on growing your family in the future.
- If applicable, cut out excessive alcohol or illegal drug use as soon as possible.
If you have questions about male fertility or would like to book a consultation to discuss an issue or concern, please contact Dr. Bastuba at our office today.