Technology has swept mankind in all possible ways. As a result of this, there has been substantial deterioration in the quality of life as well. Studies reveal, the average human sperm count has reduced by 40 per cent in the last 50 years. An excessive dependence on man-made machines, exposure to life-threatening chemicals and several other lifestyle dysfunctions has contributed to this vicious phenomenon. A hard-hitting reality is that today’s men are unfortunately not as “manly” as their fathers were, purely due to the air that they breathe, the food and water they consume and the horde of lifestyle malfunctions they refuse to rectify.
A rise in male infertility, malformations and malfunctions of male reproductive organs, the increasing number of cancers in prostate and testes etc, as per scientific evidences, have their roots in environmental imbalances caused due to a rising dependence on technology. Falling sperm count is becoming a major topic of research; however, the dwindling quality of sperm deserves greater deliberation. In recent times, medical circles have been witnessing more number of cases with higher sperm count, but lower quality.
Several factors could affect both the quantity and quality of your sperm. Obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption etc though are the most known causes, listed below are five major culprits that are silently hampering your sperm count:
More than measuring the amount of stress, it is important to assess the reaction to stress in an individual to understand the impact it could have on him. People exhibit different tolerance levels to the same situation. However, those who are not capable to handle pressure and difficult situations witness greater changes in their hormones, subsequently having an effect on the quality of their sperm production. Exposure to high levels of stress over longer periods of time could trigger the release of toxic substances from sperm like Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) which further causes infertility.
Exposing your testicles to heat or high temperature for longer duration could significantly hamper sperm production. A simple reason like a man’s fat thigh could impair the quality of his sperm since; constant rubbing of thighs during sex could increase the temperature around his testicles. From placing laptops and mobile phones around your groin to regularly using hot tubs and saunas, men should stay away from all activities which could expose their testicles to radiation and higher temperatures, if they want to keep their sperm levels high and healthy. Wearing tight jeans and athletic shorts, satin briefs etc could all induce heat due to a reduction in the air-flow to your lower part of the body.
An inactive lifestyle can mess up with the entire metabolic mechanism of human body. One of the major lifestyle corrections that need to be made in today’s working professionals is their obsession to stick to their workstations. Average office workers sit for around 10 hours a day which leads to an overheating of men’s testicles along with causing a plethora of diseases including organ damage, muscle degeneration, bad back etc. At the same time, extremely physically demanding jobs could also impair the sperm quality. The key is to draw the fine line and do moderate level of physical activities regularly so that both your personal and reproductive health is on track.
Exposure to steroids and chemicals
A recent study exposed the rising infertility in farmers due to their regular exposure to pesticides. However, more researches around the same revealed people who consumed the fruits and vegetables sprayed with higher content of pesticides, would develop greater damage on their fertility health. Such chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors, terribly upsetting the hormone levels in man’s body, by decreasing testosterone concentration and even resulting in erectile dysfunction. Intake of certain medication and higher doses of anabolic steroids have proven effects in causing lower sperm motility.
Testosterone supplements/male fertility boosters
It’s time to stop falling victim to those male fertility booster ads. Exogenous testosterones can do only more harm than good since an excessive level of testosterone artificially created in the body gives it the indication to shun down the natural production, sensing the quantity is enough. Therefore, instead of supercharging your sperm production, such supplements could only reduce the natural testosterone-producing ability of your body, resulting in co-morbidities later in life.
Environmental imbalances are disrupting male fertility; we can’t run away from this reality. However, mankind still has reasons to hope for. If we could re-create what was available 50 years ago in this world, by simply embracing a greener and less-polluted planet, we could reverse this horrific situation which is putting our very existence at stake. Better weight-management, healthier food habits and an active lifestyle, are some immediate steps which could take us closer to this goal. It is imperative we do this to preserve fertility intact, for us as well as our future generations too.
Dr Kamini Rao is the pioneer of Assisted Reproduction Treatments in India and has been awarded the Padma Shri award by the Government of India in 2014.