MEN'S HEALTH: Signs you may need to check your own fertility

MEN'S HEALTH: Signs you may need to check your own fertility

MEN'S MONTH FEATURE

Monday, November 30, 2020

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WHILE many people attribute problems with infertility to the woman, fact is, in about one in five infertile couples, the problem lies solely with the male partner.

Male fertility generally relies on sperm quantity and quality, so if the number of sperm in a man's ejaculate is low, or if the sperm are of poor quality (abnormal shapes or movements), it will be difficult for him to cause pregnancy.

Getting pregnant is easy for some couples, but for others it's a difficult road. Infertility affects up to 15 per cent of the reproductive age population, and is often due to a combination of factors.

What are some of the signs that a man may need to check his own fertility?

Doctors say that any dysfunction along the different steps of semen production (sperm production or transport) can lead to impaired fertility. About two-thirds of infertile men have issues with sperm production in the testes, while one in five infertile men have problems with sperm transport.

Some of the factors that can negatively affect male fertility include:

•Varicocele (dilated veins in the scrotum)

•Undescended testes

•Excessive oestrogen exposure

•Infections of the male reproductive system

•Mumps as a child

•Prostate enlargement

•Endocrine (hormone/glandular) disorders affecting the brain, adrenals, thyroid, testes, leading to low testosterone production (including tumours, low functioning from birth, trauma)

•Urethral strictures (Scarring that narrows the tube that carries urine out of your body)

•Sex chromosome (genetic) abnormalities

•Malnutrition (especially protein deficiency).

What can you do?

1. The first step is to see a doctor. A sperm test will be ordered to check for abnormalities.

2. Control all chronic illnesses, especially diabetes, which can affect the ability to have and maintain an erection.

3. Stop smoking, as this also can affect sperm amount and quality.

4. Avoid environmental toxins, so check with your doctor if you work/live around chemicals, toxins or radiation, as these can affect sperm production.

5. Excessive alcohol intake can affect the ability to achieve and maintain an erection, so avoid this as well.

6. Heat can reduce sperm production, so avoid exposing the testicles to excessive heat by wearing loose-fitting clothing and underwear, and avoiding long, hot baths/Jacuzzis, or sitting for prolonged periods.

7. Check with your doctor about the medications you are taking, as some of them can affect sexual desire or cause impotence.

8. Avoid foods and chemicals that mimic the effects of oestrogen found in some soy products, certain plastics, pesticides and animal products.

9. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy, balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and antioxidants.

10. Avoid excessive exercise and steroid use, as these negatively affect fertility by decreasing sperm production.

11. Maintain an ideal body weight, as obesity and excess fat tissue can contribute to poor fertility.

12. Maintain good mental health, as stress can negatively affect libido and cause impotence.


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