Difficulty with conception leads many couples to fertility experts every year. Many learn that the issue lies within the female partner’s reproductive system through the presence of endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or other fertility-limiting conditions. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the quality of the male partner’s sperm can also play a large role in fertility problems. In fact, the CDC says that 18% of men who seek out fertility help will be diagnosed with some level of infertility relating to their sperm quality. A recent study conducted by Texas A&M revealed a link between poor sperm quality and certain lifestyle choices. Here are a few things to avoid doing when you’re trying to improve your sperm quality.
Kicking the smoking habit is hard–we get it. But apart from simply living a healthier, longer life, becoming a non-smoker appears to have great benefits for your reproductive health as well. Studies show that even significant second-hand smoke exposure can lower sperm counts in men, impacting sperm mobility and sperm morphology to boot.
Need another reason to hit the gym? Turns out being overweight can not only impact your sperm quality but also tank your libido. Don’t go to the extreme in the weight loss area though, the study also found that being considered underweight could be just as detrimental to your reproductive health.
Trash the Tighty Whiteys
“Boxers or briefs?” has long been a divisive question for men. Be it comfort or style based, the choice of underwear is one that varies from man to man. But, when it comes to fertility, there does appear to be a clear winner. Studies show higher fertility success rates in men who routinely wear boxers and opposed to briefs. The good news is that the change from briefs to boxers is a simple, inexpensive one to make. And, while studies are inconclusive of exact success rates, doctors note lower temperatures and higher sperm counts in just six to eight weeks following making the switch.
Be the D.D.
The designated driver, that is. Alcohol consumption can lower your testosterone, causing a slump in sperm production and potential erectile dysfunction. Prolonged heavy drinking can also lead to liver function issues- another factor in male infertility. So, how much is too much? Studies indicate even as few as five alcoholic units per week can begin to impact sperm quality.
Ask for Help
Perhaps the most obvious course of action is also the scariest; see a doctor and ask for help. Sometimes the answer is a simple one that is easily corrected. Even if the answer is not easy, the more you know about your own fertility, the better in control of your journey you will be.