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- Lifestyle plays an important role in men’s reproductive health
- Stress can affect libido or sexual dysfunction, not the quality and quantity of semen
- Men have better sperm production with a BMI less than 25
New Delhi: When talking about infertility and reproductive health, it is essential to be attentive and considerate as it can be a sensitive subject for some people. For some time now, women have borne the burden of the blame for dysfunctional reproductive health. However, it is high time to debunk the myths and educate ourselves about the human body. In this article, Dr. Vinet Malhotra shatters some myths about male reproductive health.
Male Reproductive Health – Myths and Facts
Myth: Infertility has nothing to do with men and is specific to women.
Do: This is one of the most prevalent myths and misconceptions in our society where people believe that reproductive health infertility is only related to women and not to men at all. We need to understand that it is not gender specific and affects both men and women equally. According to studies conducted so far, male reproductive health depends on the quality and quantity of sperm. Various other factors related to reproductive health are the male reproductive system, hormonal imbalances, etc.
Myth: Men can have children for as long as they live.
Do: Indeed, males do not have a fertility window like females and this does not allow males to get their partner pregnant when they want. Men can have children at any age, but the chances of having a pregnancy are over 45 and difficult when they are in their 60s. It has been observed that if someone is planning children at the age of 60 or 70, the children are the most likely to have developmental disabilities or defects.
Myth: Male sexual dysfunction or infertility are the same.
Do: Male sexual dysfunction or impotence is one of the main male reproductive problems. In society, it is believed that infertility and erectile dysfunction are the same, but this is not correct, infertility is the inability to reproduce while erectile dysfunction or impotence is the inability to ” get an erection and establish a relationship with a partner.
Myth: Male infertility is not affected by lifestyle.
Do: Lifestyle habits play an important role in men’s reproductive health. An inappropriate or unhealthy lifestyle affects the quality of sperm and the subsequent quality of the egg. Habits such as smoking, drug abuse, closely related to harmful chemical tight underwear, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) can affect male infertility. We should all adopt good eating habits, regular exercise and good healthy lifestyle habits in our daily routine to avoid such problems.
Myth: A low sperm count makes men weak and incapable.
Do: Visit the fertility specialist to diagnose the root cause of infertility or low sperm count. Your doctor will guide you out of this situation and direct you to the best line of treatment. According to studies, men with low sperm counts can have children if they get the right treatment at the right time.
Myth: Age is not a criterion for male infertility.
Do: The quality of sperm decreases with age, which increases premature births and miscarriages. According to studies, fertility is faster in women than in men and men cannot have children when they want to. Fertility in men is more at a younger age.
Myth: Stress is one of the main causes of infertility.
Do: Stress can affect libido or sexual dysfunction, not the quality and quantity of semen. If the couple’s sexual relations are going well and the female partner does not conceive, the intervention of a fertility specialist is necessary. Stress does not lead to infertility per se.
Myth: The quality of semen is improved if the male testicles are cold.
Do: Long car trips and wearing tight underwear affect infertility and hamper sperm quality in men. The temperature in the scrotum rises and affects the overall quality of sperm. Hot showers, sauna baths also affect the quality and number of sperm.
Myth: Older men have problems with infertility.
Do: No, even younger men have infertility issues. A low sperm count can even be observed at the age of 25.
Myth: Does alcohol or tobacco use cause infertility in men?
Do: Agree. Stopping smoking and consuming alcohol in moderate amounts is good because it makes sperm toxic.
Myth: Supplements help increase semen quality in men.
Do: Various supplements like Vit E, Vit C, Zinc, Selenium help a lot in increasing semen quality in men.
Myth: Keeping phones in your pocket is bad for sperm quality because they emit radiation.
Fact: According to studies, it is not yet proven that this affects the quality of semen.
Myth: People don’t have infertility in later stages if they have children earlier.
Do: There are many reasons that affect infertility in later stages, namely reduced sperm quality, hormonal changes, irregular ovulation in females. It is not entirely true that if someone has children in the past, they will continue to have children in the future.
Myth: Weight does not affect male fertility.
Do: False. Men have better sperm production with a BMI below 25, while obese and overweight men have issues related to male infertility.
Myth: Cyclists have a low sperm count and infertility is affected.
Do: Not true. The sperm count is not affected by cycling. Cycling has been observed to affect erection in a few men.
Myth: Fertility increases in men who have daily sexual activity.
Do: No. The chances of fertility decrease if someone regularly exercises such activity. We need to understand that the lifespan of eggs is only 24 hours, and having regular sex is only beneficial during a woman’s fertile period.
Dr Vineet Malhotra is a guest contributor. The opinions expressed are personal.