Causes of low sperm count and infertility and how to solve them.
A Hebrew University research revealed that sperm counts among Western men have dropped more than 50 percent in the past 40 years. While scientists can’t pinpoint an exact explanation, studies have shown that certain lifestyle factors play a large role in a man’s sperm count. The good news is that most of the time, those levels aren’t permanent.
Normal sperm production takes 60 to 90 days. That means the effects of poor lifestyle choices can be reversed in just two or three months.
Here are some of the most common behaviours responsible for lowering his sperm count and what to do about them.
- Not ejaculating enough
It’s a misconception that men have to save up sperm when it’s baby-making time. In fact, frequent sexual activity is important for sperm health. If the body isn’t getting the message to produce sperm, it won’t produce as much.
Essentially, use it or lose it. Health experts recommend that males ejaculate once or twice a week to maintain production.
- Heat exposure
Exposure to heat is known to affect sperm production. hot tubs and even heated car seats are all culprits, but one of the most common sources of heat is laptops. Laptop computers can literally cook the sperm.
It’s also worth noting that certain occupations that involve heat, such as working as a chef in a hot kitchen or as a firefighter in a non-breathable uniform, can have a negative effect on sperm count.
Smoking either tobacco or marijuana may reduce sperm count, efficacy and quality. Toxins and contaminants make their way from the lungs through the circulatory system to the testicles.
Studies have shown that simply stopping smoking can have an effect on sperm count within a couple of months.
- Getting stressed
It’s difficult to quantify the effects of stress due to its subjective nature, but fertility experts, in general, recommend that men try to reduce it. Research has found that men who feel stressed are more likely to have lower concentrations of sperm. Stress leads to increased levels of the hormone glucocorticoid, which can have a negative effect on the production of testosterone and sperm. Taking anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants can worsen the problem. “Certain medications can lead to erectile dysfunction and affect the amount of ejaculate.
- Wearing briefs or tight pants
Underwear or any clothing that hugs the scrotal sac close to the body is not recommended. The ideal temperature for sperm production is a few degrees lower than body temperature, which is why the testicles sit where they do. When they’re held too close to the body, the testicles can’t regulate temperature to allow for healthy sperm production.
- Drinking too much alcohol
When consumed in high doses, alcohol can affect the ability of the testes to produce sperm.
That said, moderate consumption of red wine may actually have a protective effect on sperm. The antioxidants found in red wine can help reduce sperm’s exposure to free radicals, which can damage cells and DNA.