The most common finding in infertile men is a low sperm count and absent fructose in the semen contributes to this, as does obstruction in the pathway of ejaculation. Falling sperm counts have been a concern over the last century and it can affect your partner’s chances of getting pregnant along with the health of offspring because to conceive, a man must have a good erection and normal ejaculation, sperm count must be good and sperm must be healthy to reach and penetrate the egg.
Most infertile males have low sperm count due to defective production, poor quality of seminal fluid or obstruction in the pathway of ejaculation, low production due to stress, nutritional deficiency, underlying health issues like diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity, advanced heart disease, cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, a bad lifestyle, mental stress, tobacco and alcohol consumption or due to working in a hot humid environment at the workplace like a factory (boiler/machinery). Male fertility declines with age.
Age does not impact male fertility in exactly the same way as female infertility. Sperm count and quality gradually decrease as you get older. Semen carries sperms and fluids that nourish it; any factor affecting these can affect men’s fertility. Erectile dysfunction and other health conditions are more common in older men and can impact your fertility. Hence, actively taking care of one’s health and wellbeing – both mental and physical – can go a long way in boosting fertility.
Tips to boost male fertility and sperm count:
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Kshitiz Murdia, CEO and Co-Founder of Indira IVF, Dr Amolkumar Patil, Consultant – Urology and Kidney Transplant Surgery at Apollo Hospitals in Navi Mumbai and Dr Sumit Mehta, Consultant Urology at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi spilled the beans on several simple ways to boost male fertility and sperm count. These include:
1. Visit your doctor regularly – Do regular health check-up to detect any underlying disease. A large part of understanding one’s reproductive health can come about by visiting a doctor on a regular basis. This is a preventative measure which can help keep a track of one’s health and flag any problems that may later cause infertility.
2. Maintain good hygiene – Maintaining good genital hygiene is essential to ensure that infections are not caused.
3. Prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – Get tested if you think you are at risk for having one, get vaccinated for HPV, practice safe sex and avoid multiple partners. Certain STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea can lead to male infertility. These can be prevented by taking adequate preventative measures such as limiting the number of sexual partners, using protection during intercourse, regular tests for STI/Ds and even taking required vaccination.
4. Quit substance abuse, smoking and alcohol intake – Stop alcohol and tobacco consumption. While occasional consumption of alcohol is dismissible, heavy intake of the same can lead to lower sperm production due to decreased levels of male hormones such as testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone and leuteinising hormone. Smoking (including passive smoking) can additionally lead to decreased motility in sperms as well as lead to their damage in shape and DNA. Thus, quitting these habits can help boost fertility. Illicit drug use can affect sperm count.
5. Start a healthy lifestyle – Eat healthy, sleep well and exercise to remain fit. A healthy lifestyle can include eating a healthy diet and maintaining weight considering BMI standards. Regular physical activities are also recommended. A healthy body produces healthy sperm. An unhealthy body produces no sperm or unhealthy sperm. A healthy weight can significantly contribute to overall health of sperm and can improve sperm volume, concentration and mobility. Eating a healthy diet with adequate antioxidants helps in living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining quality of sperm. Exercising regularly, being physically active and healthy lifestyle can boost sperm count.
6. Corrections in work life – In urban areas, especially now with working from home, people are exposed to more screen time on their laptops. Heated computer systems on the pelvic area can increase the temperature of the scrotum, causing lower sperm count. Rather, tables must be used for work purposes. Subsequently, other high temperature working conditions should be avoided. If your work involves high-temperature zones like furnaces and boilers, and you have a fertility issue, try to modify your workplace/change it or look for experts help. Reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals. Metals, solvents, pesticides and non-water based paints can affect sperm count, so take necessary measures to avoid direct exposure to these chemicals.
7. Taking care of your mental health – Destress at workplace and home. Stress has been found to increase the production of hormones such as glucocorticoids that can lead to a dip in testosterone and sperm production. Thus, men must give equal importance to their mental and emotional health to ensure normal sperm count. Stress can be a risk factor to lower sperm count, so it is necessary to reduce stress through measures such as Yoga or meditation.