DEAR DR MITCHELL,
My husband is a trailer driver who is on the road a lot. I have heard where this type of work affects sperm quality. We have one child and want more in a few years, but I want to know what specifically he can do to protect his fertility. He is also a big beer drinker.
The fact that your husband drives a trailer truck and is on the road a lot is significant as it is relates to his fertility. Trailer trucks have big engines and tend to become overheated, thus increasing the temperature around his testes. This increased temperature can cause a decrease in his sperm production and decreased motility. There will be fewer sperm that move sluggish and this will reduce your chances of becoming pregnant. If the truck is air conditioned then this will reduce the risk of this happening.
Other factors that can cause a decrease in sperm production and quality include taking hot showers, soaking in hot bathtubs, wearing tight underpants or clothing, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and eating certain foods.
It has been suggested that men who smoke marijuana in excess have lower sperm count than usual. Also, the consumption of okra is a common dietary practice in the Caribbean and African countries and this can cause a decrease in sperm production and motility.
Sexually transmitted infections can also cause reduction in sperm production and cause the sperm to be sluggish. It can also cause a blockage in the tubes that allow for the release of the sperm, thus preventing pregnancy. This can also cause infection and blockage of the Fallopian tubes in the woman. This will prevent pregnancy and if pregnancy occurs it increases your risk of an ectopic pregnancy which can be life-threatening.
Men who travel long distances away from home tend to have multiple partners, so he needs to be aware of the risks involved as it relates to fertility and also the risk of contracting major sexually transmitted infections including the human immunodeficiency virus. Safe sexual practice is always the way to go. The use of both male and female condoms will reduce the risks involved.
Consult your doctor who will advise you further.
Dr Sharmaine Mitchell is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Send questions via e-mail to email@example.com ; write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or fax to 876-968-2025. All responses are published. Dr Mitchell cannot provide personal responses.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to medical advice or treatment from your own doctor.