By: Dr. Gary Bellman on October 15, 2013
You can take simple steps to increase your chances of producing healthy sperm; For example:
- Practice safe sex. Sexually transmitted infections, such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea are a leading cause of infertility for both men and women. To protect yourself, limit your number of sexual partners and use a condom each time you have sex or stay in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who isn't infected.
- Eat a healthy diet. Choose plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants. Studies have shown that incorporating a balanced diet may help improve sperm health.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Some research suggests that obesity negatively affects sperm quality, reducing both sperm count and sperm movement.
- Manage stress. Stress can decrease sexual function and interfere with the hormones needed to produce sperm.
- Get moving. Include physical activity in your daily routine.
Sperm can be especially vulnerable to environmental factors, such as exposure to excessive heat or toxic chemicals;
Ways to help keep sperm healthy:
When to seek help?
- Stay cool. Increased scrotal temperature can hamper sperm production. To protect your fertility, don't wear tight undergarment or athletic shorts. If you bike or remain seated for long periods of time, take frequent breaks. Avoid hot tubs, saunas, and steamy baths.
- Don't smoke. Men who smoke cigarettes are more likely to have low sperm counts. Smoking can also decrease sperm movement.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Heavy drinking can reduce the quality and quantity of sperm. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation.
- Like cigarettes, marijuana can decrease sperm movement.
- Avoid lubricants during sex. Personal lubricants, including saliva, and most skin lotions can interfere with sperm movement. If necessary, use vegetable, safflower or peanut oil.
- Be cautious with medications. Calcium channel blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, anti-androgens, and various other medications can contribute to fertility issues. Anabolic steroids can have the same effect. Chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatment for cancer can cause permanent infertility. If you're considering medications, ask your doctor about the impact on your fertility; or the possibility of banking sperm
If you and your partner have had difficulty conceiving after a year of unprotected sex, ask your physician about a semen analysis
. A specialist also might be able to identify the cause of the problem and provide treatments that place you and your partner on the right path.
Recent article correlating moderate exercise and healthy sperm counts;