Everyday factors that may affect male fertility

Male infertility has been increasing and a great deal of research has been conducted as to the cause of this problem. The usual reasons point to any medical or health conditions of the person. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, excessive exercising and obesity can impair sperm quality. However, there are also some inconspicuous factors which could have a negative effect – issues that are just taken for granted and accepted on a daily basis.
Being aware of these and taking action against them could help improve fertility issues.
Plastic food containers and water bottles/Canned foods: BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical used in polycarbonate plastics, which are often used in food and beverage storage containers. BPA is supposed to mimic the function of estrogen which affects the development of the testes, indirectly influencing sperm production. BPA has been linked to erectile dysfunction as well as quantity and quality of sperm.
This can be reversed by eating less canned foods, drinking only from glass or steel containers or those plastic containers which are BPA-free. Also, do not use plastic food containers in the microwave.
Pollution by dust and air: Not only does air pollution affect the general health (respiratory and cardiovascular) of a person, but it can also affect male fertility. Such pollutants have been found to negatively impact sperm production by causing increased sperm DNA fragmentation, decreased motility, abnormal morphology and impaired spermatogenesis. Dust pollution was found to cause reduced sperm concentration and damaged morphology.
Living in urban areas makes it difficult to avoid such pollution but, if possible, avoiding travelling at peak hours or in high density traffic could help.

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Daily hygiene products: Many products used daily such as soaps, deodorants, moisturizers and aftershaves contain parabens, which are synthetic chemicals used as preservatives. Studies have shown that sperm production and its efficiency decrease when receiving such parabens. The concentration of testosterone also decreases in men using a high dose of these parabens.
Since these products are used on a day-to-day basis, we cannot cut them out altogether. However, checking the packaging and choosing those which are paraben-free could help. So could avoiding those products which contain the words “propyl, ethyl, methyl and butyl”. Also aftershaves and perfumes with strong fragrances should be avoided.
Food habits: We are aware that obesity could be linked with infertility. However, choosing foods which could help in sperm production is an alternative.
Vitamin D: Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency causes a lower production of testosterone. Sunlight as well as some food like fish, eggs, mushrooms, tofu,milk and orange juice are sources of vitamin D. Ashwagandha: (winter cherry) Daily intake of a small amount (5 gms)of this evergreen shrub has shown to increase sperm quantity and motility. Zinc: helps in sperm production. It also balances hormones, which help with testosterone as well as prostate and sexual health. Zinc is present in red meat, poultry, oysters, crabs as well as in beans, nuts, cereals and dairy products.
Conclusion: Dealing with male infertility can be stressful. However, by following the above tips, the chances of not increasing the infertility problem are positive. The best way to check on the fertility status is to have a semen analysis done.
At Andrology Center, we offer both the basic semen analysis test as well as the sperm DNA Fragmentation (SDF) test, using the SCSA (sperm chromatin structure assay) method. We are proud to state that we are the only laboratory in India authorised to carry out this test. With the state of the art equipment and advanced technology, we guarantee accurate results. These, in turn, will help the fertility specialist to offer the appropriate treatment.