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What Factors Affect Sperm Health?

Marjorie McAtee
By
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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Sperm health can depend on a number of factors, generally having to do with lifestyle and diet. Men who wear close-fitting undergarments or expose their testicles to heat, such as in a bath, may experience low sperm counts, since the testicles generally need to stay at a cooler temperature to function properly. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, drug abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases can all affect sperm health. Ejaculating too often, or not often enough, can also impact the health of sperm. Toxins in the environment, including radiation, mercury, and pesticides, can damage a man's sperm health, as can certain medications. Conversely, eating a healthy diet and using supplements such as selenium, folic acid, and zinc can improve the health of a man's sperm.

Most experts believe that if a man has a healthy reproductive tract and follows healthy lifestyle guidelines for diet and exercise, he will be very likely to enjoy healthy sperm. Low sperm count generally occurs when the testicles are kept too warm or heated too often, as they might be in a sauna or bath. Close-fitting undergarments and trousers are said to lower sperm count, since they can force the testicles closer to the body, keeping them too warm. Experts believe the testicles are located outside of the body because they need cooler temperatures to produce an optimal amount of healthy sperm. Doctors often advise men seeking to improve sperm health to wear loose-fitting trousers and undergarments that allow the testicles to move freely.

Medications, toxic chemicals in the environment, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco can all have an adverse effect on sperm count and sperm health. Doctors typically advise avoiding heavy alcohol consumption and refraining from drug or tobacco use. Prescription medications, especially chemotherapy drugs but also steroid medications and opioid pain relievers, can lower sperm count and damage the health of sperm. Experts have long suspected environmental radiation of damaging sperm health in those exposed to it. Chemical pesticides, phthalates, mercury, artificial estrogen, and polychlorinated biphenyls are all some of the environmental poisons that can be detrimental to the health of a man's sperm.

Some doctors even believe that ejaculating too often can lower sperm count and fertility. Experts recommend restricting ejaculation to once every two or three days to optimize the health of sperm. Men who are sexually abstinent may be well advised to masturbate as a replacement for intercourse. Many sexually transmitted diseases can damage the male reproductive tract, leading to decreased sperm health. Men can generally prevent such diseases by using latex condoms consistently during intercourse in non-monogamous circumstances.

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Marjorie McAtee
By Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On Feb 13, 2014
Sporkasia - The body is well designed in ways to ensure the production and survival of future generations. However, you have to realize that many of the factors that affect sperm count are conditions that have been created by humans over the years.

In the beginning, man had no need to worry about boxers or briefs because he wore neither one. Today, there are much bigger threats to sperm production than choice of underwear.

As mentioned in the article, a couple of the major concerns regarding sperm count and healthy sperm are exposure to harmful drugs and chemical toxins in our environment. I read a book recently that suggested a decrease in world population was in our near future and that the cause of this decline would not be war as is often predicted. The book said the decrease would occur because of our inability to reproduce, and this will be the result of toxins in the environment that will ultimately get into our bodies.

By Sporkasia — On Feb 13, 2014
Drentel - The more I have read about sperm count and all the things men should and shouldn't do when they are trying to become fathers the more surprised I am that there are as many babies born as there are.

Okay, maybe I am overstating my case, but I didn't know sperm production could be so influenced by a few degrees this way or that way in a man's scrotum.

I can remember my husband and I being given varying information when we were trying to conceive our first child. One person recommended we have sex less often so the sperm could build up. This made sense to us. Then another person said we should have sex as often as possible, and this seemed logical as well.

By Drentel — On Feb 12, 2014

I would never have thought that whether I wear boxers, briefs or boxer-briefs could affect my chances of being able to produce sperm and become a father. How many men must have struggled with this issue, trying who knows what remedies. If only they had known that switching underwear could have solved all their problems.

Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.
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