Sperm count maybe something that most couples don’t even pay attention to. However, the fact of the matter is that it is a crucial element that can have an effect on the couple’s reproductive health in general. With that, there are countless factors that affect a man’s number of swimmers and even their quality – including ones that men are in control of themselves.
For the record, a man is said to have low sperm count where there are less than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. The worst part is that having low sperm count can make it very difficult for a man to get his partner pregnant.
Also, this issue is believed to be associated with testicular cancer, prostate cancer and even cardiovascular problems later on in life. With so much at risk, men need to give due attention to their sperm count so that any health and fertility issues can be avoided at all times.
Back in the days, it was rumored that Mountain Dew can affect a guy’s sperm count. Honestly speaking, I hope no one actually used the soda as a form of birth control. However, there are still a number of ordinary things that can hamper a man’s sperm production.
From basic unhealthy habits like drinking too strange things like wearing sunscreen, here’s a list of things that might decrease sperm production. If anything, we hope men can learn from it and try to avoid the factors mentioned below in order to maintain optimum sperm count:
15 Not Being Intimate
Oh yes, this one’s a major sperm-zapper too. Although people believe they should save sperm till the time that a woman reach her most fertile period so that there are higher chances of conception, the fact of the matter is that the ‘saving sperm’ approach brings no benefits – if anything, it can actually make matters worse.
For guys who have low sperm counts, abstaining from even a single day of sex can make matters worse. This is because abstaining from sex can decrease their sperm production even further. Oh and this isn’t just a claim – it’s a fact that was verified by researchers at Soroka University Medical Centre in Israel. The worst part is that abstaining from sex even causes sperm to change in terms of shape – a major sign that the sperm is going stale.
14 Wearing Sunscreen
Although lathering up before heading out in the sun can protect men against skin cancer, the fact of the matter is that it can impair their fertility too. According to a research conducted by the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE), chemicals that are commonly found in sunscreen can impair male fertility by a full 30% - that’s a lot if you ask me.
As the skin continues to absorb the chemicals that filter out UV rays, like BP-2 or 30H-BP, it tends to interfere with his hormones, thereby lowering sperm quantity and quality. With that, researchers believe that men who are concerned about their fertility should make sure that they wash off sunscreen when they head indoors. If possible, it is best to avoid excessive usage of sunscreen in the first place.
13 Eating Processed Meats
If a couple is trying to conceive, than the man needs to rethink about those BLT’s he’s long been scarfing down. Why is that so? Well, for the simple reason that research studies have suggested that the consumption of processed meat, like bacon or sausage, has the potential to harm sperm quality.
Researchers at the Harvard University found that men who continued to eat half (yes, just half) a portion of processed meat a day had only 5.5% “normal” shaped sperm cells as compared to 7.2% who ate less – that’s a major difference. For the record, the researchers that conducted this study further found that fish are probably the secret to better sperm. Hence, if you want to increase your sperm production or have better quality sperm cells, then make sure that you say no to processed meat.
12 Chemicals Found In Raincoats And Nonstick Pans
Certain research studies have pointed out pans as a risk factor for male reproductive health. According to a research study, men who have high levels of certain chemicals that have been classified as perfluoroalkyl acids have half the amount of normal sperm. For the record, these are the same chemicals that are known to add the nonstick quality to raincoats and pans alike.
However, there is no need for you to go throwing out all those expensive pans yet. The said research study was rather small, and the relationship between perfluoroalkyl acids and sperm levels requires much more research.
Most interestingly, research studies have shown that women with high levels of these chemicals in their blood took longer to get pregnant. A Danish study confirmed that men with high exposure to these chemicals have a lower mean percentage and total number of normal sperms as compared to men with lower exposure to them.
11 Eating Soy
Whoever thought something as delicious (and addictive) as edamame could be so detrimental to the reproductive system? It’s like my worst nightmare coming true! According to the results of a research study that was conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, the consumption of a mere half a serving of soy a day has the potential to harm a man’s sperm production.
Why is that so? Well, for the simple reason that it consists of isoflavones, which basically mimic estrogen. Because of this, if a couple is trying to conceive, it is best for the man to give up on that tofu for a bit – stay away from it!
What should be noted here is that the research did not associate soy foods with any other aspects of the semen analyses including sperm’s movement or shape.
10 Being Obese
Being obese – having a BMI higher than 30 – has the potential to increase a man’s chances of being sub-fertile. According to an article published in MSN UK, it increases the likelihood of being sub-fertile threefold. Apart from the fat that obesity increase the temperature in the groin due to fat deposits, the fact is that it can also raise oestrogen levels in the body. Both of these elements have the ability to hamper the testicles’ ability to do their job.
A study published in Human Reproduction back in 2012 stated that men who consume high-fat diets have a 43% lower total sperm count and a 38% lower sperm concentration than men on low-fat diets. Hence, if you plan on having a baby with your partner anytime soon and you are overweight or obese, then it is best for you to start trying to cut down your weight right away.
9 Keeping A Cellphone In The Front Pocket
Men who carry their phones in their hip pocket or on their belt need to rethink the positioning of their cell phones. Why is that so? Well for the simple reason that men who follow this practice have been found in a research study to have 11% fewer motile sperm as compared to men who keep their phone in other places.
Even if the phone is not kept in the general vicinity of their groin, research studies suggest that cell phones can still trigger reproductive issues in men. One study found that men who spent more than an hour a day on the phone had 17% fewer highly motile sperm than those who only chatted on the device 15 minutes a day. So if you use your cellphone a lot, well, it’s about time that you start cutting down on its usage a bit and make sure that you place it carefully.
8 Watching Too Much TV
Add this to the list of reasons why he should hand over the remote to you. Sitting on the couch, as is now obvious, really isn’t doing much for his health – both his general health and his sexual health.
This is true, it isn’t just his motivation and physique that are at risk as he lounges on the sofa and eats up a bag of Doritos. According to a research study that was published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, men who continue to watch a lot of TV have fewer sperm as compared to men who exercise moderately or vigorously each week.
According to the study, couch potatoes who viewed over 20 hours of TV a week had 44 percent lower sperm count than men who watched almost no television – that’s a major difference!
7 Dealing With A Lot Of Stress
Stress is known to have dire consequences over a person’s emotions and physical health. However, the fact of the matter is that it can put a man’s fertility at risk too. Irrespective of what a man is stressing out about, be it work or even about having a low sperm count, experiencing severe or prolonged stress has the potential to interfere with testosterone production.
According to research, men who experience two or more stressful life events in the past years tend to have a lower percentage of sperm motility together with a lower percentage of sperm of normal morphology as compared to men who did not experience any stressful life events in the same period. So if men are stressed for longer periods of time, there’s a good chance that it will affect the quality of their sperm.
6 Being A Vegetarian
Healthy as a horse? Is that what you think a plant-based diet is going to make you? Allow me to laugh out loud at that innocent thought. This is because although being a vegetarian has its benefits, research studies have shown that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits has the potential to harm fertility.
According to researchers at Loma Linda University Medical School, vegetarians and vegans have much lower sperm counts as compared to carnivores – the stats stand at 50 million sperm per milliliter as compared to 70 million sperm per milliliter. The research further found that men who are vegetarians also have less active sperm.
One third of sperm were active for veggies and vegans versus nearly 60 percent for meat eaters. So if you are trying to get your partner pregnant, it is highly recommended for you to give up on being a vegetarian!
5 Taking Some Medications
There are a number of medications that can cause fertility issues in men. These are typically inclusive of tricyclic antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, chemotherapy drugs, radiation treatment for cancer, anti-androgens, and anabolic steroids etc. Every single one of these medications can trigger fertility issues in men.
In case there is a need for you to take them, it is highly recommended for you to discuss all potential complications in this regard with your doctor.
Medicines like antidepressants, antifungal medications, epilepsy drugs, diuretics and chemotherapy drugs can lead to lower sperm count and may even affect your ability to get an erection or ejaculate while having sex. Do not get started on the medication right away – take time out to speak to your doctor about these possible consequences and find out if there are any alternatives that you can use instead.
4 Drinking Too Much Caffeine
Like alcohol, it is necessary for men (and just about every human out there) to consume caffeine in moderation. This is because excessive consumption has the potential to trigger reproductive issues in men. The moment you have over three cups of coffee a day, your chances of genetic mutations in sperm are increased manifolds.
According to a research study conducted back in 2002, a cup of coffee a day can lead to multiple births (e.g., twins, triplets, etc.) — from what can be guessed, too much caffeine has the potential to make your sperm a tad bit too jumpy. So if you are trying to get pregnant as a couple, it is best for you to give up on the caffeine for a bit or at least limit your consumption for a while – at least till the time that you get her pregnant.
3 Keeping The Jewels Hot
It is pretty common for men to hear that they should not keep their laptop on their laps. Well, if anything, we’ll say it’s pretty true. This is because any increase in the temperature around your groin has the potential to mess with the production of sperm.
It is for this exact reason why it is best for men to avoid saunas, hot tubs and steamy baths in case they are looking to increase their sperm count. It’s also why experts advise against wearing tight underwear like briefs or athletic shorts as these can easily increase the temperature down there.
Oh and for the record, cyclists should also remember that riding a bike more than two hours a day can affect their sperm count negatively. For men who are hardcore cyclists, it is best to take frequent breaks.
2 Phthalates and BPA Products
Have you noticed an increasing number of manufacturers these days boasting of their products being completely “phthalate-free” in recent times? Ever thought of the reason behind it?
Well, the simple fact is that these substances that are often added to plastic and are commonly found in various personal care products and cosmetics have caused a stir in the past couple of years as research linked them to a plethora of health concerns. Amongst these health concerns are lower sperm count, abnormally shaped sperm and lower sperm mobility.
On the other hand, there isn’t enough research for bisphenol A (BPA) to be convicted in this case. However, there have been a few studies at least that have associated high levels of BPA in urine to lower sperm quality, quantity and motility.
For the record, BPA is a chemical found in some cans that are meant to be used for canned food, pitchers, polycarbonate plastic cups, receipts, adult dishware and pitchers.
1 Smoking and Lubricants
Add this to the list of reasons why you should quit smoking cigarettes right away – irrespective of whether you smoke cigarettes or marijuana, your habit can have a negative effect on your reproductive health in general. Smoking has long been associated in several research studies with reduced sperm motility together with abnormally shaped sperm. Apart from that, heavy use of marijuana has been associated with low testosterone levels and reduced sperm quality and quantity.
Although most sexually active people make use of lubricants to umm, make things move more efficiently, research suggests that the same product can reduce their sperms’ ability to move freely, thereby making it harder to get pregnant. Instead of lubricant products, it is best for men to use vegetable, peanut or safflower oil in case they are worried about sperm count.