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24 Things To Avoid Male Infertility and Lowering Of Sperm Count

Cause of Male Infertility

In the previous article, we’ve covered the essential nutrients and minerals for improving male fertility as well as increasing sperm count. In this article, we’re going to look at the things that should be avoided in order to maintain good fertility, healthy sperm and of course, maintaining a good sperm count. All these are vital for conception as low fertility and sperm count can have difficulty fertilizing the female egg.

If you’re a man who cares about your overall health and particularly male sexual health, read these things you should avoid. Women, if you’re reading this and become concern about these scary things that can make your man sterile, pass this to him. As always, consult with your healthcare provider for proper guidance. Of course, doing your own research first allows you to ask more wise and appropriate questions to your doctor, which may result to a more clearer answers.

Without further adieu, let’s begin. And, note that these are not in particular order as all of them are harmful and should be prioritize in avoiding them.

1. Pay Attention To Your Medications

Many prescription medications and even some over the counter ones have known side effects. Cleveland Clinic has a list of drug types that can hamper male fertility including SSRI(Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which is a medication for depression and anxiety treatment. Even PDE5 inhibitor drugs like Viagra, Levitra and Cialis can also cause infertility. Alpha blockers, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, Ketoconazole, and testosterone hormone therapy.

If you want to dig more and learn a comprehensive list of drugs that can induce infertility, there’s a book written by Robert G. Forman entitled Drug-Induced Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction, which is available at Amazon. The book also appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.

2. Steroids Can Havoc Your Manliness

Many bodybuilders used anabolic steroids to bulk up. Unfortunately, while it may seem anabolic steroids helped a man more manly, it does not when it comes to sperm quality. Bodybuilders who have used anabolic steroids have been shown to reduce the quality and amount sperm. The good news, it’s not too late as even after prolonged used of anabolic steroids, the quality and amount of sperms can return to normal. Dr. Honig, an Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery/Urology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine explains how anabolic steroids negatively affect the production of sperms.

3. Avoid Canned Foods and Opt For Whole Foods

An article[1] in Nature found that BPA or Bisphenol-A is considered a common environmental pollutant and its impact on male fertility in both humans and animals. The study found that BPA caused alterations in the quantity of fertility-related proteins that may be linked with increased health risk. BPA is a chemical used to make certain plastics and also present in cans used for canning foods, which means, BPA is very common and can almost be found in every packaged food sold in supermarkets. In particular, the cans used in canned foods have been coated with BPA resin and it has been used since the 1960s until today. According to this article;

Canned food can play a significant role in contaminating people with BPA at levels linked to health problems in laboratory animals. The solution must be sustainable, non-toxic packaging.

Even the National Institute of Health[2] considered BPA as a reproductive toxicant. This is Bisphenol-A, very toxic and if you’re in doubt, you can search Google for yourself about the side effects of BPA in both humans and animals.

4. Quit Smoking Tobacco

Tobacco smoking has been proven to have significant negative impact on our health and that includes male infertility and impotency or erectile dysfunction. Therefore, if you want to increase your sperm count and you’re smoking, the very first thing you should do is to quit smoking. It can be difficult initially due to nicotine withdrawal, but it’s possible to quit and become smoke-free. Think about your future and your child’s future if you decide to become a father.

Here’s a video that talked about the effect of smoking on male fertility and that even second smoke is just as bad. The video also talked about other male fertility effects like cell phone and stress, which are covered later in this article.

5. Quit Smoking Marijuana

Marijuana has been found to be a medicine for various diseases, but when smoked it can significantly lower sperm count and reduce seminal fluid. According to a study[3] conducted by researchers at Buffalo University that sperms from marijuana smokers were moving too fast and too early resulting to an early exhaustion before it reaches the egg. This is somewhat surprising and conflicting because marijuana is supposed to have medicinal properties.

The University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute may have an explanation as the effects of marijuana varies depending on how it is used and taken. Marijuana can be consumed in many ways including smoking, vaporizing, juicing, eating and other methods and smoking should be avoided as it has bad effects on the body.

6. Manage Stress and Keep It Minimal

Stress can kill if not managed and keep at minimal. On the other hand, stress can’t be avoided as it’s part of life, and what we can do is to manage and keep it minimal. In a study[4] published at Nature researchers conclude;

…stress as a causative factor in male infertility cannot be ignored and patients should be made aware of its effects on testicular function and fertility, and should be helped to address their issues.

Moreover, there are several other journals[5][6][7][8] that supported the negative impact of stress on semen quality that can eventually led male infertility.

Therefore, it’s worth investing your time and dedication to self-improvement means of calming down and minimizing stress keeping it minimal. There are many ways to do so including regular meditation and yoga practice. Both works really well provided it is practice on a regular basis.

7. Avoid Excessive Plastic Use

Earlier we’ve mentioned BPA or Bisphenol-A a type of chemical used to make certain plastics that end up in common households. Today, it’s almost unavoidable, but anyone has the opportunity to reduce exposure by reducing the use of plastics especially at home. In addition to BPA, there’s another component in many plastic products called Phthalates, which have been found to reduce sperm count. Phthalates is a chemical that has been around since the 1940s, which is time when a declined in sperm counts were noticed.

A study[8] in Sept 2008 concluded;

In conclusion, our results suggest that phthalate diestersmaynegatively impact semen quality, even at lowexposure levels in the general population. These associations are consistent with our earlier report of diminished couple-level fecundability in association with higher levels of male urine phthalate monoesters.

Additionally, Harvard Gazzette mentioned a study back in May 2003 about the negative implications of phthalates.

Men with the highest levels of monomethyl phthalate were more likely to have a higher percentage of abnormally shaped sperm.

8. Stop Using Non-Stick Pans For Cooking and The Use of Raincoats

Non-stick pans are great and easy to clean after cooking, right? Well, that sounds very true, but there’s a hidden danger lurking behind it, and it’s also true with raincoats. Both of these contain certain chemcials called perfluoralkyl acids, which makes them smooth and non-stick. Unfortunately, back in 2009, Rodale reported a study conducted by Danish researchers that chemicals used in non-stick products.

The National Collaborating Centre For Environmental Health of Canada listed suggestions on how to reduce exposure to these chemicals.

  • Wash your hands before you eat to reduce ingestion of PFCs on your hands from contact with consumer products and dust.
  • Reduce consuming fast foods and packaged foods (e.g., microwave popcorn, takeout french fries, takeout pizza, TV dinners), especially foods that are heated in their packaging.
  • Avoid fluorinated stain repellent treatments on new carpets and furniture and decline fluorinated stain repellent treatments during carpet and furniture cleaning; request a non-fluorine based alternative.
  • Avoid stain or dirt-repellent clothing and clothing bearing a Teflon label.
  • Avoid personal care products and cosmetics with fluoro or perfluoro on the ingredients list (e.g., in lotions, pressed powders, nail polish, and shaving cream).
  • Reduce exposure to indoor dust as much as possible; dust with a wet cloth and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, if possible.

9. Say “No Thanks” To The Receipts

Today, majority of receipts used a type of paper that comes out from the cashier’s machine and handed it to you as an official receipt. Sounds cool and quick, but there’s a hidden danger. The next time you buy and handed by the cashier by this kind of paper, just don’t pick it up unless you need a reinbursement for your purchase.

In 2014, Discover Magazine reported a study that found receipts from cash registers are exposed to BPA(Bisphenol-A). The receipt has been coated with BPA, and the study found that BPA exposure can increase if the hand is wet like due to sweating.

Receipts May Expose Us to High Levels of BPA

10. Stop Using Sex Toys

Well, don’t freak out if you’re accustomed to using sex toys. It’s not really the end of the world, but you want to avoid plastic-made sex toys as most of them contain phthalates, a similar chemical used in non-stick pans and raincoats we’ve mentioned earlier. If you were to opt to using sex toys, choose those made from biodegradable materials, glass, or silicone.

11. Switch To Using Natural Lube

Many of the lubricants available are not good for the sperm as they either act as a barrier or too thick for the sperm to move, which eventually kill them before the reach the egg for fertilization. It may not be bad for couples only trying to experience pleasure, but it’s a different story for couples who want to have children. Men who are using lubricants may opt for a topical solution like VigRX Oil, or any other natural and sperm-friendly lubricants available at Amazon, or from any of your favorite sex toys in your area or online.

12. Avoid Using Chemicals When You Shower

Again, Phthalates are among the components of common personal products including shaving foam and cream, soaps, shampoos and conditioners, and deodorants, and probably there are more of these we don’t know, yet. The best way to lessen exposure is to avoid using such cosmetics and opt for natural options. It may be surprising to you how these chemicals end up to your common personal products, but manufacturers put them there because it makes the skin smooth and silky, and yet there’s a hidden danger that lies beneath it.

What are your options? Switch to organic products. You’ll be able to find more of these as an alternatives either at your local health and beauty store, or online retailers like Amazon. The price may be higher, but it’s worth the safety of your sperm especially if you’re keen to becoming a father.

13. More Harmful Chemicals To Avoid

Chemicals and more chemicals, and yes it’s true…it’s actually a sad truth to know that we’re surrounded by harmful chemicals and most of the products we can buy contain these chemicals, too. On the other hand, it’s liberating because knowing all these we have the right and opportunity to choose and opt for safe alternatives.

We’ve already covered many of these chemicals but to be honest we just barely scratch the surface. This is a good starting point and take it as an opportunity instead of a burden because you can’t find alternatives. Fortunately, there are safe and healthy alternatives. All we have to do is find them, ask our friends and online forums focus on health and wellness. Probably, the best way to reduce exposure to these harmful chemicals is to opt for organic products and produced. Or, even better if you have a small space to plant, start your own home garden.

The pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals used in agriculture are harmful. Therefore, buying only organic products can dramatically reduce your exposure. The price may be higher, but it could still be cheaper than paying for health coverage that does not cure the disease you will get. It will be more costly. So, favor the prevention side.

14. Hot Baths and Tubs Affects Your Sperm

One of the relaxing ways to unwind is sitting in a hut tub, but unfortunately, if you’re into becoming a father, relaxing on a hut tub is not a good idea. Staying on a hut tub for 30 minutes at 38 degrees Celcius or higher temperature will lower sperm count significantly and quickly. There were studies back in 1950s on men who took a hot bath every other day for a period of 21 days became infertile for the next 6 weeks.

In 2007, the University of California, San Francisco reported that men who stop exposing themselves to hot bath experienced an increased in sperm count up to 491%.

Hot tubs are awesome. But they are not good for your sperm what so ever. Just 30 minutes in water than is 102 F or higher will significantly lower your immediate sperm count. Studies done in the 1950’s show that men who took a half hour hot bath every other day for 3 weeks were infertile for the next six month! I’m not gonna lie, that sucks. I love hot tubs. On top of that, a recent study done at UCSF showed that when men cut out there exposure to hot baths, their sperm counts went up 491%. The details of the study is published at International Brazilian Journal of Urology[9].

The good news, after just 3 weeks of ceasing taking a hot baths, fertility increased once again. It it still a good idea to enjoy the hot tub occasionally, but refrain weeks prior to planning for conception.

15. Avoid Using Your Laptop On Your Lap

Laptop isn’t it supposed to be used on the lap? Well, as its name suggests, it is. However, a study found the heat generated by laptop can affect the testicles where the production of sperm occurs. The excessive heat from laptops while on the lap is enough to obliterate the sperm reducing its counts. Experts suggest to use a lap desk, or hard object and even a pillow to put the laptop on to avoid the heat transfer from the laptop to the testicles.

The bad news, if the laptop is connected to a wifi, it may not suffice as wifi is another thing to avoid when it comes to preserving male fertility, which is next in the list.

16. Minimize Your Wifi Exposure

The development of wireless or wifi has been a great convenience as there are no wires, but with wifi you can set anywhere as long as wifi signal is available, using the computers and working online is possible. But this convenience has its toll as one study[10] found that men using a laptop on their laps while connected to a wifi exposed themselves to radio frequency radiation resulting to a 25% reduction of sperm that are not swimming anymore.

Therfore, guys…minimize your wifi exposure by limiting your usage of laptop on your lap while connected to a wireless terminal such a router or a hotspot at a coffee shop, for instance. Sadly, if you’re able to get away with it, you may not be aware your fertility is still in danger if you’re using a cellphone, and that’s next in the list.

17. Keep Your Cell Phone Off Your Pocket

Cellphone technology is probably one ofthe milestone in technological advancement. However, there’s a price we pay as cellphones emit radiation and so does the cellphone towers or cell sites. This radiation is known as electromagnetic radiation. One study[11] found exposure to celllphone signal decrease the sement quality and sperm count especially if the cellphone is put in the pocket next to the balls.

Author and biohacker Tim Ferris admitted he was able to boost his sperm count after he stop putting cellphone in his pocket and use and armband instead. Unfortunately, it does not stop there as cellphone exposure can also cause cancers in the brain and breast especially vulnerable are the small children.

18. Quit or Limit Alcohol

Abuse or over consumption of alcohol does not only result to a decline in testosterone level, derail good sleep and unhealthy to the penis, but affect male fertility negatively, as well.

A study[12] finds that alcohol consumption drastically afffect the sperm. Hence, it’s a smart move to limit or even quit drinking alcohol especially if conception is a priority.

19. Limit Your Cycling Activity

Cycling is a great recreation while performing exercise at the same time. However, it may be worth limiting the number of hours doing cycling each week. A preliminary study[13] suggest that cycling for 5 hours or more each week was linked to poor sperm motility and low sperm count. Dr. Lauren Wise, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health who conducted the study hypothedized that semen may be affected with the increase in temperature in the scrotum, or even trauma during cycling. On the other hand, she added that it was too early to be certain of the real cause and the real cause is yet to be known and further studies are suggested.

In 2009, there was study on professional thriathletes and cyclists who ride 186 of miles each week had 4% of normal-shaped sperm, but at least 30% normal-shaped sperm is ideal for conception. As with former hypothesis, the cause was attributed to trauma and temperature. The good news, recreational cyclists need not to worry according to Professor Richard Davison, a sport physiology expert at Edinburgh Napier University.

Another study in 2014 also suggested to limit cycling hours per week.

20. Limit Your TV Time

Health expers of today agree that excessive long hours of sitting is just as bad as cigarette smoking, or better known as the sitting disease. This habit is one of the causes of many metaolic diseases like diabetes and obesity. One study reported by the Daily Mail found that men who watched television for 20 hours a week or even more cut their male fertility by half.

Therefore, if you want to preserve male fertility, avoid long hours of TV time. Again experts found similar as hypothesized in the cycling study, which is the rising temperature in the testicles due to prolonged sitting. If ever there are unavoidable times when you watch TV for hours, try to stay active while sitting like doing light exercises or strength training using body weight while watching TV, or stand up from time to time and stretch with basic yoga poses.

21. Stop Wearing Tight Underwears

According to WebMD wearing tight pants and tight underwears are not friendly to the sperms. The testicles are located outside thebody as its production of sperm is sensitive to temperature increase. In fact, the temperature of the testes is much lower than the body temperature. Wearing tight pants and underwears can cause an increase in temperature that can hurt the sperms.

22. Don’t Drink Your Calories

A study[14] published at American Journal of Epidemiology examined 2,554 young Danish men to find out their fitness level for military service that those who drank high amount of Cola had lower sperm count compared to men who didn’t drink Cola, 40 mL/M vs 56 mL/M.

WHile in this study researchers were not able to determine the cause of sperm count reduction, an article at Science mentioned a study that high sugar in blood can cause deformation in sperm at DNA level.

…when the researchers performed DNA analyses, they found that 52% of sperm from diabetic men contained fragmented DNA, which could prevent them from fertilizing an egg or lead to abnormalities in the offspring. Only 32% of sperm had defective DNA in the control group.

It’s obvious that sodas and colas have high amount of added sugars. In fact, a 16 oz cola contains 44 grams of added sugar according to the USDA, which is almost doubled the recommended daily intake of sugar at 25 grams.

23. Limit Your Soy Intake

A study[15] published at Oxford Journals Human Reproduction found that men who consumed high amount of soy products have lower sperm concentration. Although, the study didn’t mentioned about GMO or genetically modified organisms, it has been found that one of its side effects is infertility according to Jeffrey Smith in his article at Huffington Post.

24. Lose Weight And Loee The Belly Fat

Last but not the least, men who are obese it’s time to lose weight as the unwanted fat storage in the belly is not good for your fertility due to hormonal changes triggered by the active fats. A study[16] back in 2012 found a negative impact of obesity on male fertility. In 2015, another study conducted by Australian researcher Dr Jared Campbell found similar evidence of obesity negatively impact male fertility.

We found the quality of the DNA in the sperm of obese men is poorer and the mitochondria is not as active in the sperm of obese men.

That’s it men out there who want to preserver their fertility. Hopefully, this list would be able to help you out avoid these things and do what’s right for the sake of male fertility preservation. Note that, this list may not be the most comprehensive list, but it’s good enough as a starting point. You don’t need to do them all at once, but do what’s applicable to you right at this very moment. Every small success you achieved, it’s a good sign and your little swimmers are happy and thankful to you, as well.

Lastly, keeping mind that it takes about 10 to 11 weeks to normalized sperm production. Hence, don’t expect an overnight results when you start implementing any of the things mentioned, or combination because it takes a little bit of time. Allow your body to restore to its natural and healthy state. The good news, once you start doing the right things for your body, it will pay off. You may not be able to do these all in a month or even within 6 months, but doing at least half of it can have dramatic positive effect in your fertility and increase in sperm count.

As always, consult with your healthcare provider for appropriate guidance, testing and other concerns. The purpose of this article is not to substitute your doctor’s professional guidance, but to give you an insight so you will be able to ask the right questions to your doctor and hopefully, get the right and clear answers.

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