Around 1 in 6 couples experience fertility problems during their lifetime, and in these cases the problem is with the male partner in between 30-50% of cases
The good news is that many causes of reduced male fertility are reversible, and simple lifestyle changes can produce great improvements within just a couple of months in both sperm count & motility. In some cases such as varicoele surgery may be required to restore the fertility, but it is still worth making the lifestyle changes as not all men with a varicoele experience infertility.
Factors that may affect male fertility:
- Varicocele :quite common & actually a varicose vein in the scrotum may reduce male fertility by causing overheating (treatable by surgery)
- Infections: some infections can reduce male fertility-eg mumps as a child or adult can damage the testicles
- Heat: anything that causes overheating of the testicles may reduce male fertility eg, working in a very hot environment, using a laptop on your lap, cycling, over exercising, Very hot baths, Saunas
- Chemicals : in some occupations contact with certain chemicals can reduce fertility. if you work with any hazardous chemicals check if they can affect your fertility & make sure you take adequate health & safety precautions
- Drugs : some prescribed drugs can reduce fertility in men. If you are on a prescription drug check with your GP whether it could affect your fertility.
- Drugs of abuse: many illegal recreational drugs have been shown to reduce male fertility eg anabolic steroids, Cannabis
- Smoking :has been shown to reduce fertility
- Alcohol: excessive alcohol consumption can reduce male fertility
- Being overweight: has been shown to reduce fertility in men (may be due to an over heating effect)
- Poor diet-nutritional deficiencies may reduce male fertility
- Stress: can be a factor. Look at ways of reducing your stress
- Congenital: ie absent or damaged testicles
- Accidental: injury to testicles
Tips to improve male fertility
Male Fertility Tips-here are some simple lifestyle changes that may reap rewards
- Give up or reduce cigarette consumption
- Avoid overexercising-moderate exercise is good but avoid compulsive over exercising. Prolonged cycling or horse riding may cause overheating.
- Avoid very hot baths, saunas etc. Shower instead or take a cooler bath.
- Keep your laptop off your lap-put it on the table instead or use a laptop screen that prevents overheating
- Wear loose fitting undergarments & trousers
- Take a multivitamin & mineral supplement designed to support male fertility
- Eat a healthy balanced diet-make sure you get your five a day
- If you are overweight the take measures to reduce your weight gradually. Weight watchers and slimming world are great resources to help you achieve this steadily. You can either attend a class locally or do it online. Men who join weight watchers tend to be very successful at losing weight
- Keep your alcohol consumption well below 14 units per week
- Avoid any illicit drug use ie use of anabolic steroids, Cannabis etc