Lifestyle issues - Causes of Male Infertility

These include diet, smoking, alcohol consumption and even the type of pants you wear!

Smoking lowers sperm count as well as affecting sperm quality so both the quality and quality of your sperm are affected. In fact, this sperm count can be 13 to 17% lower in men who smoke as compared to non-smoking males.

It can also damage the blood vessels within the penis which decreases blood flow and causes ineffective erections.

These are all good reasons to give up smoking if you and your partner are trying to conceive.

Visit our female infertility section to learn more about the effects of smoking on your partner.

Another aspect is alcohol: alcohol consumption can affect fertility in both men and women. Even a moderate amount of alcohol can have quite a drastic effect. With men it can reduce the size of the testicles, lower sperm count, decrease the quality of the sperm (more poor quality sperm), decrease libido and even cause impotence.

You may enjoy a few drinks after work or at the weekend when socialising but you need to look at your intake if you are trying to conceive. It is better to limit this to the occasional drink rather than on a regular basis.

This equally applies to your partner as drinking can also affect the woman’s fertility.

Your diet plays more of a part in fertility than you think. A healthy diet, rich in antioxidants, especially vitamins C and E are particularly crucial for fertility. They can boost sperm production, ensuring that these sperm are of a superior quality and likely to fertilise an egg.

Conversely, a diet which is lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, for example, zinc, can reduce the volume of semen produced by the male. A certain amount of semen is required for fertilisation and a diet which is deficient in zinc will affect this.

If you feel that you are lacking in zinc then introduce the following zinc rich foods into your diet:

  • Wheat germ
  • Seafood
  • Beef
  • Lamb

Other factors which can affect sperm count include: wearing tight underwear, riding a bicycle for a long period of time (the saddle puts pressure on the groin which can damage arteries and nerves) and drug use (cannabis, cocaine or steroids).

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