Lifestyle Habits That Can Impact Male Fertility
Although films and tv often make it seem like getting pregnant is the easiest thing in the world, the opposite tends to be more accurate. It’s estimated that 1 in 8 couples will have trouble conceiving at some point. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive without success, you may be thinking about seeking medical advice from a fertility specialist or getting a semen analysis. While this is an excellent idea, it’s also good to keep in mind that there are several lifestyle factors that impact male fertility. With a few tweaks to your daily life, you can help improve your sperm count and quality.
Alcohol Consumption, Smoking, and Drug Use
If you are trying to have a baby, it’s best to avoid drinking large quantities of alcohol. While alcohol in moderation is fine, excessive drinking can decrease testosterone levels and impair sperm quality. You should also avoid smoking, including vaping. In addition to increasing your risk for cancer, heart disease, and countless other conditions, smoking also damages male fertility in a variety of ways, such as:
- Lowering sperm counts
- Reducing sperm motility
- Increasing DNA fragmentation
- Producing abnormally-shaped sperm
It’s also important to avoid drugs, such as steroids, opioids, and cannabis. Steroids, which some men use to increase muscle mass and enhance their fitness routines or athletic ability, wreak havoc on the hormonal signals that are responsible for producing sperm. Opioids, both prescribed medications and illicit substances, can disrupt the production of sperm, reduce sperm quantity, and decrease sperm quality. As for cannabis, some research studies suggest that regular consumption can decrease sperm count.
Diet and Exercise
Weight can play a significant role in a male’s fertility. Whether underweight or overweight, men can experience changes to both their hormones and sperm quality that render them infertile. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which has been shown to improve fertility. To improve your diet, be sure to incorporate whole foods such as lean proteins, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. When it comes to exercise, engaging in moderate physical activities such as running and weight lifting at least three times a week can improve both the quality and quantity of your sperm.
Avoiding Exposure to Hazardous Substances
Recent studies suggest that recurrent exposure to hazardous substances such as electromagnetic radiation and pesticides may have negative effects on sperm count, morphology, and motility. Pesticides, which are most frequently found on produce, can be tricky to avoid. Some ideas for steering clear of foods with pesticides include:
- Buying organic fruits, vegetables, and packaged goods
- Thoroughly washing produce before eating it
- Grow your own vegetables and fruit
Electromagnetic radiation is also tricky to avoid, since most of it emanates from common devices that we use every day, such as cell phones, laptops, and microwaves. To limit your exposure to electromagnetic radiation, try keeping your phone out of your front pocket, resting your laptop lower down on your lap, or standing several feet away from the microwave when heating up food.
Visit Your Doctor
While evaluating your daily habits and upgrading your lifestyle are important for your fertility and overall health, be sure to also consult with a fertility specialist about your concerns. For more information on male fertility care in the San Diego area, contact Male Fertility & Sexual Medicine Specialists today.