The concern around your sperm production may not hit you until the doctor asks you to take a semen analysis to indicate whether your sperm count meets the minimum requirement for successful impregnation. Thousands of couples around the world face challenges of conceiving naturally owing to several medical reasons. Research indicates that one of the primary causes of decreased fertility, witnessed over the last decade, is a gradual decline in the sperm count among otherwise apparent healthy looking males. Unfortunately, most men wait to be diagnosed with this disregarded health condition for years, until their child bearing age. It is significant to understand that a lowering sperm count should not be solely considered as a debarring factor of reproduction or as a scorn to masculinity, rather it is to be addressed as a rising concern of general well being.
A man is biologically pre-disposed to constantly mature sperm every day, which can be either improved or reduced by altering lifestyles and habits. Unless, you suffer from a chronic ailment that directly impacts your sperm count, there are many ways in which you can ascertain healthy sperm regeneration. While there are several explanations to the impoverishing sperm quality and quantity; simultaneously many misconceptions have surfaced over times that mislead people with their prejudiced notions. Some of these myths include the practice of indulging in frequent sex or masturbation, even drinking a particular brand of soda like the “Mountain Dew”, has been misconstrued as substantially lowering sperm count.
The space and willingness to address and discuss this issue in itself is an affirmative step towards breaking several social stereotypes around men and sexuality. Unless genetically susceptible, health experts cite some significant causes that have the potential to harm your sperm production which can be alternatively controlled with a little awareness and effort from the male fraternity.
Check if you are drinking heavily: As pointed out by medical experts, alcohol has toxins that can cause destruction of sperms because of the presence of oxygen-free radicals in it. While heavy alcohol consumption can damage your liver; the liver begins to malfunction, slowing down its ability to eliminate toxins from your body. The accumulation of toxins can well impair the sperm cells.
Do you dabble in substance abuse? Research indicates that use of recreational drugs like Marijuana can affect your virility and sperm production, as these can lower the predominant male hormone ‘testosterone’ levels in your testicles, which produces the sperm. Long term use of drugs like ‘Oxycodone’ or ‘Hydrocodone’ has been found to supress the pituitary gland and the release of the luteinizing hormone, which stimulates the testicles to produce testosterone. This can lead to a condition known as ‘male hypogonadism’, where lowered testosterone levels can affect your sexual drive and degrade the sperm production.
Are you a chain smoker? Smoking causes decreased blood flow to your organs, thereby aggravating the risk of erectile dysfunction. It impacts both the sperm quantity and your motility. Motility can be attributed to the quality of the sperm, i.e. how fast healthier sperms can swim to unite with female eggs. While smoking like a chimney can damage your blood vessels, it also restricts the testicles from working properly as they need proper blood flow in order to function normally.
Do you consume fitness supplements or steroids? Many people regularly follow work out regimes and consume steroids and supplements to build muscles overnight, amassing testosterone levels in their bodies. Such supplements, gels, shots etc. introduce male hormones like ‘androgens’ into the body. While most of these formulas don’t always disclose their composition; sometimes they don’t even meet the FDA regulatory approvals. Using such unwarranted products could trigger hormone levels thereby damaging your sperm count and quality.
Consumption of processed food products: Latest studies correlate the consumption of soy and processed meat with the mucking up of sperm count. A paper published in the Oxford Journal, revealed that “men who consumed half a serving of soy-based foods daily over the span of three months had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who didn’t consume soy foods at all (the average concentration of sperm ranges between 80 and 120 million/ml).” It is believed that that soy food bears a plant nutrient that causes ‘estrogen’ like effect on the body. Eating these can thus tamper the sperm production. Though, the reason is yet to be scientifically verified, research indicates that men who consume regular portions of processed meat show lower sperm count as compared to their counterparts who eat frugal portions of such food items.
Are you stressed out? A slow slayer, stress can take a toll on your overall health. So, it can interfere with your sperm production too. The rise of stress hormone, cortisol in your body, can elevate your blood pressure levels and release ‘glucocorticoids’ as a result of prolonged stress. With overall decline in your wellbeing, persistent accumulation of stress hormones will affect your semen quality.
Using harmful plastic: Next time you use any plastic item, check for the BPA-free label. BPA, known as Bisphenol A is a chemical widely used in a variety of plastics products. The toxins hidden in BPA can pose serious health hazards along with directly interfering with endocrine secretion in your body that can render you with looming sperm production.
Let your organs breathe: Wearing tight boxers and underwear could actually prove detrimental to the health of your testicles. Testicles maintain a lower temperature than the rest of the male body and thus a substantial rise in temperature, attributed by covering them too tight can affect the making of sperms.
Other than these, there are various other reasons that may not have universal empirical evidence, but are much talked about and accountable for lowering sperm count among males. Some of these include: not having a regular sex life; excessive use of cell phones, especially carrying them in pockets where the radiation and vibrations can decrease sperm count; prolonged exposure to laptops, staying up too late and the like.
Article by Rochita.