Six lifestyle choices that are affecting your sperm count

New Delhi (IANSlife) The health of sperm plays a critical role in your ability to conceive a child. Several lifestyle factors can influence the quality and quantity of your sperm, which, in turn, affects the chances of a healthy pregnancy.

By making informed choices and understanding how these factors affect your reproductive system, you can take steps to enhance your chances of conceiving a child. Dr. Nikitha Murthy, Fertility Specialist, Garbhagudi IVF walks us through the six key aspects that can negatively impact sperm health and fertility.

Smoking and alcohol consumption: The first lifestyle factor is smoking and tobacco use. Cigarettes and other tobacco products contain over 2,000 different chemicals, with nicotine being one of the most harmful. Smoking decreases sperm motility, which is their ability to move effectively. Reduced motility results in fewer sperm reaching the egg, thus lowering the chances of a successful pregnancy. Moreover, smoking can harm the DNA within sperm, leading to a higher risk of both difficulty conceiving and early miscarriage.

Even occasional alcohol consumption can negatively impact sperm health. It reduces sperm motility and the number of normal sperm. Therefore, limiting or abstaining from alcohol can be beneficial when trying to conceive.

Obesity: Being overweight or obese (when BMI is more than 25) can also affect your sperm quality. Obesity can lead to an imbalance in hormone levels, specifically the ratio of estrogen to testosterone. This hormonal shift can harm sperm production and quality, as testosterone levels decrease. Furthermore, excess weight can generate extra heat around the testicles, which are housed in the scrotum. The elevated scrotal temperature can reduce both sperm quality and quantity.

Increased heat from Laptops and Tight pants: Exposing your testicles to excessive heat, whether through prolonged laptop use or wearing tight pants or under garments can harm sperm health. Elevated temperatures around the testicles negatively impact sperm quality and quantity. It is essential to allow your testicles to stay at a comfortable temperature to support healthy sperm production.

Use of sex toys: The use of sex toys itself does not inherently decrease sperm health. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind to ensure that sex toy use does not negatively affect sperm quality or reproductive health. Proper cleaning and using the right lubricant is important. It is advisable to use water-based or fertility-friendly lubricants to maintain sperm health. Allergic reactions or irritation in the genital area could potentially affect sperm quality temporarily.

Diet: The type of food you consume can also impact your sperm health. A diet high in trans fats, often found in packaged and ready-to-eat foods, can reduce the quality of your sperm. Carbonated and fizzy drinks have high sugar contents which is not advisable. It is best to opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while minimizing the consumption of processed and fried foods.

Lack of Sleep: Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is crucial for sperm health. Shift work or irregular sleep patterns can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, affecting the quality and quantity of sperm. Getting a minimum of seven to eight hours of restorative sleep each night is essential to improve sperm motility and quality.

Dr. Nikitha adds, “Lifestyle choices play a significant role in your ability to conceive a child. Smoking and tobacco use, alcohol consumption, obesity, excessive heat around the testicles, excessive use of sex toys, following an unhealthy diet, and sleep disruptions can all negatively impact your sperm health. To maximize your chances of a successful pregnancy, consider making simple lifestyle changes, this can help you boost your fertility and work towards building a healthy family.”

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