How Stress Affects Semen Quality
It’s long been understood that stress has an impact on a person’s health, so it comes as no surprise to learn that men’s reproductive health may be affected by stress. About 12 in every 100 couples in the United States struggles with infertility, and several studies over the past several years have established a link between poor semen quality and stress. Now, a new study is taking a closer look at both subjective and objective measures of stress to try to determine how it’s connected with semen concentration and sperm motility and appearance.
Male infertility is the problem for about 40 percent of couples with fertility issues. The main cause of male infertility is sperm abnormality, including misshapen or immobile sperm or low sperm production. Sometimes, these abnormalities are caused by medical conditions, but they can also be caused by health and lifestyle factors.
The new study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility was conducted by researchers from the Rutgers School of Public Health in Piscataway, NJ and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York, NY. Between 2005 and 2008, researchers looked at 193 men between the ages of 38 to 49 who were a part of the Study of the Environment and Reproduction at the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in Oakland, CA. The men completed a series of tests to measure stress levels, including workplace stress, stressful life events, and perceived stress. They also provided sperm samples, which were analyzed for semen concentration, sperm shape, and sperm movement (motility).
According to the researchers, men who felt stressed had lower concentrations of sperm and more sperm that were misshapen or had impaired motility. Even after considering other factors, like a history of reproductive health or other health problems, life stress negatively impacted sperm quality. Interestingly, job stress did not have the same effect. However, men with stressful jobs had lower levels of testosterone, and unemployed men had a lower quality of sperm than even stressed-out men with jobs.
The researchers don’t fully understand how stress affects semen quality, but they have some theories. It could be that stress triggers the release of glucocorticoids, steroid hormones which lower testosterone and dampen sperm production. Oxidative stress could also be a factor because oxidative stress in the body can degrade semen quality.
What is known is that a man can improve his fertility, even under stress, with healthy lifestyle habits. Staying physically active and practicing stress-reducing relaxation techniques can help, as can eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy BMI. Men who are trying to improve their fertility should quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and talk to a doctor before beginning any new medication.
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
How Vasectomy Reversal Procedures are Performed
Vasectomies are a common procedure for couples who have completed their families, in part because they’re a simpler procedure than a tubal ligation. Sometimes, however, men change their minds after they’ve had a vasectomy. It could be that the couple decides they want another child, or gets a divorce, but whatever the reason, it’s now possible for men to have their vasectomies successfully reversed. Vasectomy reversal, however, is a more complicated process.
The most common procedure to reverse a vasectomy is the vasovasostomy. This is a surgical reconnection of the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm away from the testes. Generally, there’s a vas deferens on each side of the body, about the diameter of a strand of spaghetti, and these tubes are divided when a vasectomy is performed. Sperm production doesn’t stop after a vasectomy, but the sperm are no longer able to leave the body. A vasovasostomy allows ejaculation to occur again.
To perform a vasovasostomy, the surgeon makes a small incision in the scrotum. The vas deferens is isolated and dissected microscopically, divided above and below the obstruction caused by the vasectomy. The fluid from the testicle side is examined, and if it contains sperm, the surgeon reconnects the two ends of the vas deferens. This is done using multiple layers of micro suture and a powerful surgical microscope that magnifies the vas deferens to about 40 times its size. Once the vas is placed back into the normal position, a small drain is inserted in each side and the incision is closed with absorbable suture. The drains are removed the next day.
If there’s no sperm present in the fluid, the issue could be scar tissue that’s blocking the flow of sperm. If that’s the case, the surgeon may have to perform a more complicated procedure, called a vasoepididymostomy. There’s no way to know before surgery which procedure will be needed, so it’s important to find a surgeon capable of performing both. A vasoepididymostomy involves connecting the vas deferens to the epididymis. The longer it’s been since the vasectomy, the higher the possibility that a vasoepididymostomy will need to be performed.
The chances of a vasectomy reversal being successful are fairly high. If the vasectomy happened less than five years ago, there’s a greater than 95 percent chance that the ejaculate will contain sperm. Between five and ten years, it drops to about 90 percent, but even after ten years, the success rate is still between 80 and 90 percent. The chances of a successful pregnancy depend on several different factors, but with the help of a competent surgeon, many fertility issues can be overcome.
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we pride ourselves on providing optimal surgical results and uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428 for a free consultation.
What’s your parenting style? There’s no doubt that parenting styles have an impact on a child’s behavior. And while parents are all different, researchers have narrowed parenting styles down to four different general types: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. These styles can be largely defined by how demanding the parent is, and how responsive.
- Authoritarian parents believe in strictly controlling their kids. Their children must follow rules without exception, and disobedience is punished. This style of parenting involves high demand from the parents, and low responsiveness to the children’s needs. Authoritarian parents have a “because I said so” approach, perceive negotiation by the child as backtalk, and justify harsh punishments like corporal punishment as “tough love.” Because authoritarian parents don’t involve their kids in problem solving or value their opinions, their children tend to be insecure and have trouble negotiating challenges. They often learn to lie effectively so that they avoid being punished.
- Authoritative parents have a high level of demandingness, but also a high level of responsiveness. Like authoritarian parents, they set clear rules and guidelines. Authoritative parents, however, are far more democratic. They believe in reasoning with kids, having open dialogue and providing guidance. While they have high expectations, they’re also warm and supportive, using disciplinary methods intended to help their children become not only cooperative, but also self-regulated. They offer their children autonomy and independence, and they allow bidirectional communication. This is considered the most effective form of parenting by most experts, because the children of authoritative parents develop independence, good self-esteem, self-control, and self-regulation, and tend to flourish under their parents’ affectionate support.
- Permissive parents ask very little of their children. They may set rules, but they rarely enforce them, and tend to have a “kids will be kids” attitude. Often, permissive parents only step in when there’s a serious problem, and often take more of a friend role than that of a parent. While they encourage their children to talk to them about their problems, they don’t offer much guidance when it comes to poor choices and bad behavior. Permissive parents tend to be warm and indulgent, but because their children are largely self-regulated, they often grow up to struggle in relationships, have trouble following rules, and suffer from health problems.
- Uninvolved parents are neither demanding nor responsive. They may not mean to be neglectful: they may be overwhelmed with their own struggles or have very little knowledge about parenting. They don’t set boundaries, offer guidance, or provide support, and as a result their children often grow up to struggle with mental health issues and addiction. They tend to have low self-esteem, be unable to self-regulate, and behave more impulsively.
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people become parents! We pride ourselves on providing optimal surgical results and uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, call 941-894-
How to Know if Being a Dad is Right for You
Are you ready to be a father? Fatherhood is an immense responsibility, so its no surprise that men sometimes have a hard time determining whether they’re up to the challenge. Further, while being a dad has its rewards, there’s no shame in recognizing that it’s not for you. If the idea of becoming a father makes you uneasy, it’s time to ask yourself whether it’s just a case of nerves or you’re really not cut out for it. How can you tell? Reflect on these questions.
- How do you feel about kids in general? If playing with children seems boring, and kids seem too messy and noisy, you might not want to bring any into your life. Even the nicest, best behaved kids are disruptive to a quiet, tidy life. They make messes, get sick, throw tantrums, and generally leave chaos in their wake.
- When you imagine your future, are there children in the picture? If your dreams are more adventurous than domestic, or you want to pursue expensive, time-consuming hobbies, kids might not be the best option. Once you have kids, children, you’ll have to make sacrifices and put their needs ahead of your own; not everyone is willing to do that.
- Thinking about the guidance kids need, do you think you’d be up to it? If you think you’d make a poor role model, and you like playing with kids but not teaching them, parenting probably isn’t for you. Raising a child to be a responsible, independent adult is a lengthy, difficult process.
- Does your career leave time for a family? It’s important to be financially stable before you bring a child into the world, because kids are expensive. That being said, being a dad requires putting in a good deal of face time and getting to know this new person. A job that requires tons of travel or excessively long hours isn’t the best fit for a father.
Remember, having kids is optional, but it’s also not a decision you have to make once and for all. Some signs you might be warming up to the idea include:
- The idea of guiding children begins to appeal to you, and you feel like you could tackle this task with even a challenging child.
- You’re financially secure enough to afford kids, have a schedule that will let you spend time with them, and have a support system in place to help.
- Spending time with kids appeals to you.
- You are comfortable with mess, clutter, and general chaos.
If you’re ready to be a dad, the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is ready to help you build your family! We pride ourselves on providing optimal surgical results and uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, call 941-894-6428 or contact us through our website.
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