Male infertility – other environmental factors

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Publication date: 01.03.2021

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Excessive exposure to certain environmental factors can affect sperm function and/or quantity. These environmental factors are: toxins, chemical compounds and heat. More specifically:

  • Industrial-industrial chemical waste . Long-term contact with certain chemical compounds, pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents and dyes can cause oligospermia, i.e. a decrease in the number of sperm.
  • heavy metals. Both direct and indirect exposure to lead or other heavy metals can cause male infertility. The impact of heavy metals on sperm data is individual in every medical case and it can include both quantitative and structural and functional changes.
  • Radiation or X-rays. Radiation affects the quantitative characteristic of sperm, that is, it reduces its production. If the radiation is small, the sperm count will recover over time and return to the physiological norm, while if the radiation is large, the changes may be irreversible.
  • Overheating of the testicles. Elevated temperatures can weaken sperm production and function. That is why frequent use of saunas and hot baths is not recommended. However, scientific studies are limited and there is insufficient medical evidence on this issue.

If you mostly sit during the day and wear tight pants, you have an increased risk of overheating the testicles, which can slightly reduce sperm production.

Lifestyle and other bad habits that affect male infertility are:

  • Use of specific medications. For example, anabolic steroids used to increase muscle mass cause the testicles to shrink and decrease sperm production. Some neurological medications cause sexual dysfunction and therefore male infertility. Drugs such as cocaine and marijuana affect both sperm production and quality. Changes caused by narcotic substances, as a rule, are reversible and, if their use is stopped, they return to the physiological norm.
  • Alcohol consumption. Alcoholic substances cause a decrease in testosterone levels, which is clinically manifested by erectile dysfunction and decreased sperm production. Liver diseases caused by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also be the cause of male infertility.
  • Tobacco use. Tobacco use, both direct and indirect, causes a decrease in sperm count.
  • weight. Obesity can cause male infertility through several mechanisms, including hormonal changes and directly changing sperm characteristics.

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