7 ways you can avoid problems with infertility

13 April 2018, Tim Burton 

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Urology is the area of medicine that looks at male infertility, so we’ve put together this short guide to help all of you men out there avoid problems with infertility.

There are lots of causes for male infertility, some are due to illness or genetic problems, but some are due to lifestyle choices that can be easy to avoid.

Each of the factors below can contribute to a low sperm count. If you have a low sperm count, your risk of struggling to conceive goes up dramatically.                                        

  1. Genital infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea: STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea are not good for your little swimmers. If you want to avoid this problem, you know the solution: practice safe sex!
  1. The testicles becoming overheated: This can be caused by a lot of things. Some of the things to look out for are: wearing clothes that are too tight around your groin (think boxer shorts, not y-fronts!), spending too much time in saunas/hot tubs/hot baths, and having a laptop on your lap.

  2. Excessive alcohol consumption: Drinking heavily can really reduce your chances of conceiving. One study suggests that just five alcoholic drinks a week can reduce sperm quality. The more you drink, the worse the effect is on your sperm. The good news is that the effects can be quickly reversed by changing how much you’re drinking.

  3. Smoking: News alert: smoking is bad for you. As well as damaging several other parts of your body, including several parts of your urological systems (your kidneys, in particular), smoking also takes its toll on the quality of your sperm. It has an impact not just on the sperm count, but also the sperm motility (how the sperm swim) and how they are shaped.

  4. Using drugs such as marijuana: Another news alert: don’t do drugs! The main ingredient in marijuana is Tetrahydrocannabinol. It interferes with the production of testosterone which interferes with the production of semen. 

  5. Anabolic Steroids: Anabolic steroids are prescription-only medicines that some people use without medical advice to increase muscle mass. They can cause serious side effects and addiction if used like this. One of the serious side effects is reduced sperm count. They can also cause erectile dysfunction and shrunken testicles. (They also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer, which is another important part of your urology health.)

  6. An unhealthy lifestyle: Last, but most definitely not least, is your overall health and fitness. Exercising regularly and having a healthy and balanced diet are two key ways to improve your chances of conceiving. Obesity has been linked to a lowering of fertility while regular exercising can lead to a boost in sperm quality.

These seven lifestyle changes could reduce your risk of struggling to conceive, but they are not always the most important factor. Sometimes it is due to another illness or genetic problem.

If you are worried about male infertility, you can find much more information about a variety of different diseases and infertility problems here. As always, if you have significant concerns, please take those to your GP so that you can try to find the cause. Don’t be embarrassed to talk to them about it; they are there to help.

Kidney

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Bladder

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Prostate

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Male reproductive organs

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