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.
A low sperm count is one of the most common factors in male infertility. If you’re struggling to conceive, it’s important to see your doctor. However, if your problem is low sperm count, you may be able to improve it naturally through a few simple lifestyle changes.
- Stay active. Regular exercise increases testosterone, which improves the quality of semen. Bear in mind that too much exercise can reduce testosterone levels, so it’s important to strike a healthy balance. Some sources indicate that weightlifting and outdoor exercise may be particularly beneficial.
- Lost weight. One benefit of exercise is that it can help reduce your weight, which can increase your sperm count. A recent study showed that men at a healthy weight have more mobile sperm than those at an unhealthy BMI, and weight loss has been shown to significantly increase semen volume, concentration, mobility, and sperm health. If you have a lot of weight to lose, losing even a little bit can help.
- Relax! When you’re under stress, sex is less satisfying, and fertility is reduced. Additionally, stress can raise cortisol levels, inhibiting testosterone levels. Taking time to unwind every day can help boost your fertility. Make sure to get enough sleep, too, because men who get seven to eight hours of sleep each night have better fertility health.
- Mind your substances. Don’t drink heavily, don’t smoke, or use tobacco, and avoid illegal drug use. If you smoke or have a substance abuse problem, get help from your doctor.
- Eat a healthy diet. Pack your diet with nutrient-dense foods, including citrus fruits, green vegetables, nuts and seeds, plant-based oils, beef, and chicken. Focus on antioxidants, which can boost your sperm count. Consider supplements, because vitamins like D, C, E, and CoQ10 and minerals like zinc can help sperm health. Because plant estrogen, called phytoestrogens, reduce men’s sperm production, it’s best to avoid consuming too much soy.
- Clean up your environment. Environmental toxins may affect your sperm count, and while you can’t control pollution, you can limit your exposure to harmful substances in your environment. Substances like pesticides, painting materials, herbicides, degreasers, and solvents can all negatively impact fertility. Radiation and x-rays are harmful to sperm production, and overheating the testicles by wearing tight clothing, visiting a sauna, or working with a laptop in your lap can also lower your sperm count.
- Herbal supplements may help. If you’re interested in natural food supplements, you might try holistic remedies like fenugreek, Tribulus terrestris, ashwagandha, or maca root.
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping men improve their fertility and build their families. 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.
For nearly 15 percent of American couples, infertility is a real struggle. Many factors have an impact on fertility, and both partners’ health plays a key role. Male infertility is about half the reason that couples fail to conceive, but do you know what factors into male fertility? Knowing the things that can harm male fertility can help you safeguard yours.
Low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, and blockages that prevent sperm delivery are the primary causes of male infertility. These issues may be the result of an underlying health problem, sometimes one over which you have no control. However, lifestyle factors can also have a major impact.
A recent study linked manual labor with low sperm counts. In a study of 456 men around the age of 32, researchers discovered that 13 percent of the men with physically demanding jobs had low sperm count, as opposed to only 6 percent of men without strenuous work. Other things that had a negative impact on fertility included:
- High blood pressure
- Smoking or using tobacco
- Using alcohol and marijuana excessively
- Taking certain illicit drugs including anabolic steroids and cocaine.
- Being overweight
- Suffering emotional stress
- Overheated testicles from frequent use of saunas or hot tubs, prolonged sitting, wearing tight clothing, or working on a laptop for extended periods
- Exposure to toxins like benzenes, pesticides, herbicides, etc. which can lower sperm count
- Current or past STIs including chlamydia and gonorrhea
- Certain prolonged activities like biking or horseback riding, especially on a hard seat or poorly adjusted bicycle
Other medical causes include hormonal imbalances, sperm duct defects, undescended testicles, tumors, and varicocele. A varicocele is a swelling of the veins that drain the testicles, and this swelling can prevent normal cooling. This is the most common cause of male infertility, but it’s also, fortunately, reversible. Varicoceles are often asymptomatic at first, but can enlarge, becoming noticeable or causing pain.
Unless you’re trying to conceive and having difficulty, you may not be aware that you have fertility issues. However, in some cases, there are signs and symptoms. If you experience problems with sexual function, pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area, frequent respiratory infections, or decreased facial or body hair, schedule a visit with your doctor to check on your fertility.
If you’re struggling with infertility or considering a vasectomy reversal, the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is here to help. 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 concerns about their fertility. We accept major credit cards as well as cash and checks, and offer a payment plan for those who are unable to pay the entire fee at the time of surgery. Whether you’re ready to schedule a procedure or just want to learn more, you can contact us through our website, or call 941-894-6428 to arrange a free consultation.
Sometimes, a vasectomy reversal by itself isn’t enough to fully correct male infertility. If a man has low sperm count, the chances of conceiving a child naturally aren’t favorable. But don’t give up hope if you’ve been told your sperm count is low. You and your partner may have the option of having surgical sperm retrieval, followed by in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The veins in the scrotum may sometimes become enlarged. This is known as a varicocele, and it’s a common cause of low sperm count . Most men don’t realize they have a varicocele, as it doesn’t usually cause noticeable symptoms. Occasionally, men may experience pain in the scrotal area. The pain typically worsens with activity and prolonged standing.
Spinal injuries, diabetes, and a history of prostate, urethral, or bladder surgery can elevate the risk of retrograde ejaculation. This condition occurs when the semen flows into the bladder instead of out through the penis. It’s sometimes possible to correct retrograde ejaculation. When correction isn’t feasible, men can still become fathers via sperm retrieval and IVF.
It’s possible for certain infections to cause scar tissue to accumulate in the male reproductive area. This scar tissue may prevent the normal travel of sperm. Some infections may also directly lower sperm production. Gonorrhea and HIV are two examples of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can result in this problem. The inflammation of the testicles, called orchitis, and the inflammation of the epididymis are other types of infections that can cause low sperm count.
A man’s sperm count can be adversely affected by the exposure to environmental toxins. These can include industrial chemicals, such as pesticides, paint, lead, and organic solvents. Men who have previously received radiation therapy or X-rays in the reproductive area can have reduced sperm production. This may improve after a few years, or it may be permanent.
Dr. Green at the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is a widely recognized expert in the field of male infertility. He specializes in vasectomy reversals at his Sarasota clinic, as well as sperm retrieval procedures for IVF. Schedule a consult today by calling (941) 894-6428.
Male infertility is a problem that affects millions of people. Most often, male infertility is caused by problems with sperm, such as poor sperm quality and low sperm count. If you’ve been diagnosed with low sperm count, it means that there are fewer than 15 million sperm for every milliliter of sperm. If you have a low sperm count, it can lower the chances for fertilization of an egg.
There are many possible causes of low sperm count. For example, some men have blockages of the tubules that are responsible for carrying sperm. The sperm may be blocked in the vas deferens, at the epididymis, or at other areas. Men who decide to have vasectomy reversals may resolve this problem with a vasoepididymostomy, which can be performed at the same time as the vasectomy reversal. This technique connects the vas deferens to the epididymis.
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal and Male Infertility, Dr. Joshua Green can perform a vasoepididymostomy at the same time as a vasectomy reversal in Sarasota—at no extra charge. Call (941) 961-4581 for information about becoming a patient at Dr. Green’s clinic
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