Men can often improve their fertility through these seven lifestyle changes
Problems with a woman’s reproductive system are typically the focus when a couple is having trouble getting pregnant. But just as men are equal partners in conception, they can be contributors to fertility problems, too. In fact, fertility problems attributable to the male partner is the case about 40% to 50% of the time. But research shows that lifestyle changes can help.
Low sperm count, sperm abnormalities and low testosterone levels are some of the most common problems found when men experience fertility issues. And yet, while female fertility issues are sometimes harder to treat, male fertility issues can sometimes be easily fixed with lifestyle changes that can improve chances of conception. But this requires men to be proactive about their role in conceiving a baby.
Fertility enhancing lifestyle changes for men:
- Quit smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco.
- No smoking marijuana. Multiple studies suggest that cannabis use has a detrimental impact on male fertility. Specifically, marijuana appears to have negative effects on sperm count, sperm morphology, and sperm motility – all of which are important for getting pregnant.
- Limit caffeine intake to 3 cups of coffee or less (sperm are less sensitive to caffeine than eggs).
- Minimize or eliminate alcohol. For men, it is recommended to have no more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks per week.
- Healthy diet with fruits and vegetables, less red meat, and no trans fats (doughnuts, fried foods, etc.).
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can manifest as increased fat in the scrotum which can raise testicular temperature and negatively affects sperm and fertility. Obesity also also can change a man’s hormone levels and is associated with genetic changes in sperm that affect fertilization, embryo development and pregnancy outcomes.
- Stop using performance enhancing supplements. Anabolic steroids used to enhance strength and fitness can actually drastically lower a man’s sperm count, sometimes even to zero in many cases. Similarly, testosterone supplements can also cause sperm counts to plummet.
The good news for men is that making any of the above lifestyle changes can drastically affect their sperm health. It just takes commitment to change and maybe a new routine and the desire to start a family.