Sperm quality – What impacts sperm quality? What to avoid in order to preserve sperm quality?
Having good quality sperm is very important and emphasis should be placed on this not only if the quality of the eggs is not high or there is a diminished ovarian reserve but also because studies show that sperm quality is a significant factor in repeated miscarriages.
Studies show that in 40–50% of cases in which partners have difficulty falling pregnant, it is because of male fertility problems. Fortunately, male fertility and sperm health can be improved. You can read more about how to improve sperm quality.
Three health conditions that impact the quality of the sperm
- Infections in the reproductive system
Infections of the male genital and urinary tract can harm the sperm, its quality, and the future development of the sperm and so cause infertility. In most cases, these problems can be easily resolved by taking antibiotics (a doctor must be consulted of course).
Multiple studies have suggested that leukocytes and inflammatory mediators have a detrimental effect on sperm counts.
Any suspicion of an infectious or inflammatory disease of the male genitalia should prompt getting a diagnostic and systematic assessment and finding the right treatment for it.
Varicocele involves enlargement of the veins that surround the testicles, which affects sperm development. This occurs in about 15 to 20 percent of infertile males.
US researchers from Harvard University in Boston have found a link between body weight and sperm count. The higher the body weight, the lower the sperm count and sperm quality compared to males of normal weight. The researchers concluded that being particularly overweight and having a BMI above 35 increases the risk of male infertility.
To preserve the quality of the sperm, exposure to the following environmental toxins that harm sperm quality must be reduced:
According to a large-scale study of the Chinese population that comprehensively examined the link between exposure to phthalates and male sperm quality, it can be learned that exposure to the phthalates DBP and DEHP may contribute to degraded sperm quality.
Phthalates can be found in a wide range of products: pesticides, building materials, personal care products such as perfume, medical devices, detergents, fragrance products, packaging, toys for children, wax, paints, inks and coatings, food products, textiles, food containers, and wrappers.
When purchasing products, read the product composition on the product labels. It’s recommended to avoid care products that contain DBP and PVC plastic that contains DEHP.
* Bisphenol A
Studies show that one of the toxins that impair fertility is Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in the plastics industry.
It’s very important to reduce exposure to this toxin. And how do you do that?
- By replacing plastic utensils in the kitchen that come into contact with hot food or beverages.
- By using a stainless-steel water bottle.
- By reducing the use of canned food and highly processed foods.
- By preparing more foods at home using natural and whole ingredients.
- Paper receipts you get from stores contain this substance so you should wash your hands with soap and water when you get home.
* Elements saturated with heavy metals
Examples: cadmium, lead, mercury, arsenic, aluminium, and more that are found in coffee, cola, red and yellow food colours that contain cadmium, which is a toxic metal that competes with zinc, the most important mineral for the male fertility system, and shaving foam, which is very rich in aluminium.
According to a study, it was found that the lead concentration in semen was significantly higher among patients with a lower sperm count. This study demonstrated that a high accumulation of lead in the semen could lower the sperm count and impair fertility among males.
Chemicals in commercial lubricants
Vaginal lubricants are sometimes used by couples who are trying to conceive; however, most vaginal lubricants are toxic to semen and therefore should not be used by couples trying to conceive. However, there is an insufficient amount of evidence of their toxicity to semen.
Reducing alcohol consumption
The main results of a study show that alcohol consumption has a detrimental effect on the sperm count but there is a noticeable difference between recreational drinkers and daily drinkers, suggesting that moderate consumption of alcohol does not adversely affect the sperm parameters. It’s recommended to avoid heavy and regular drinking of alcohol.
Abstaining from smoking cigarettes
According to a study, cigarette smoking is associated with a lower sperm count, motility, and morphology. The results indicate that cigarette smoking has an overall negative effect on sperm parameters.
Not keeping your cell phone in your pants pocket
Research shows that exposure to cell phones is linked to reduced sperm motility and sperm count but the effects on sperm concentration have been shown to be even more unequivocally harmful. The results were consistent with in vitro and in vivo studies and from this, it can be learned that exposure to the cell phone adversely affects sperm quality.
Avoid intense heat and take very hot baths.
Studies show that high temperatures can harm sperm quality.
Higher temperatures lead to an increase in testicular metabolism, which leads to sperm damage. Oxidative pressure is the main cause of testicular damage from heat stress.
One study attempted to evaluate the ongoing effects of heat pressure on sperm ejaculation and the immediate or long-term effects of heat pressure on epididymal sperm. It was observed that there was a decrease in sperm motility and mass motility of semen ejaculation, as well as an increase in the amount of defective sperm.