Your Health May Influence Your Fertility

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Written by: In a recent study, a group of researchers set out to see if infertility might be connected to a man’s health. They compiled the medical records of more than 9,300 men. These men had struggled with infertility at some point in their life. To help figure out the cause of their infertility, study participants provided semen samples for analysis. The researchers reviewed these test results. They then compared that data with each man’s overall health.

What did they find? Unhealthier men tended to have abnormal semen. For instance, their sperm counts were lower or their sperm didn’t develop properly. These men were also more likely to have certain diseases. Those of note: high blood pressure and heart disease. The researchers suspect such health issues may lead to infertility.

It isn’t always clear what causes infertility. Some men may have issues with their testicles. For instance, these organs may not make enough sperm. Another common cause is a varicocele. This enlarged vein may limit the number of sperm. Other potential reasons include:

  • A blockage that prevents semen from leaving the body
  • A drop in the hormones that spur the production of sperm
  • Genetic issues
  • Certain medicines for conditions such as arthritis, depression, or cancer
A physical exam is the first step in pinpointing the cause of a man’s infertility. A doctor may also order a blood test and semen analysis. A semen analysis tells a doctor how much sperm a man is making and if the cells are healthy.

Several treatments can help with infertility, depending on what is causing it. For instance, medicine may fix a hormonal imbalance. Surgery may be able to fix a concern in the testicles.

Some research points to an uptick in male infertility. Experts aren’t exactly sure why. But men can do a lot to help keep their sperm healthy. If you and your partner are trying to have a baby, take these steps to boost your fertility:

  • Keep the weight off. Men who are overweight or obese may have trouble conceiving. Regular physical exercise and a healthy diet can help you lose weight.
  • Don’t smoke. Studies show smoking can decrease the size of sperm.
  • Avoid drinking too much. Large amounts of alcohol have been linked to semen issues. So, too, have recreational drugs, such as marijuana.
  • Dial down the stress. The concentration of sperm tends to drop when a man is under a lot of stress.
  • Manage other medical conditions that may affect fertility. These include diabetes and high blood pressure.
 

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