Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Male fertility: Here are some Hard Facts, go Figure

Infertility is on the rise, and a larger number of men are open to the idea of getting treated for infertility. There was a time when infertility was considered to be only a woman’s problem, but today, we know this is not the case. Almost a tenth  of all Indian men have some type of infertility issue, and so it’s not surprising to hear different “scare” stories that surround sperm health.

There are concerns over the influence of environmental chemicals and pollutants on male fertility. The only thing I say to my patients who have such queries is- using a non-stick pan to toss a breakfast egg, driving in a car that has been newly upholstered or using a sunscreen to protect your skin is not realistically linked to poor sperm quality. There are a number of studies which are being carried out, but none of them are really conclusive at all. None of these products are likely to be the root cause of issues for couples who are desperate to have a baby.  However, bad habits such as smoking and excessive drinking or even being overweight can impact the motility or quality of a man’s sperm.

Let’s bust the  myths which masquerade in the garb of facts.

#1 Cooling your testes will improve  Sperm  production

While it's a fact that your testes function better when they are cool ( which is why they are located in the scrotum) , cooling your testes will not improve sperm production, sorry. Ingenious andrologists have even devised cooling underwear, but these do not help at all. Also, please do not worry about  that occasional sauna you take - it will not "cook" your sperm !

#2 Foods and Supplements Can Improve Your Fertility

Sadly, this is a myth.  Antioxidants , Vitamins C & E, zinc and folate  are often prescribed by doctors who are trying to be helpful, but they are unlikely to improve your sperm count and motility , sorry.  In fact, well-meaning wives will stop allowing their husbands to eat fast foods, because they feel that these will harm the sperm. This just ends up making the poor man's life even more miserable.

#3 Seasonal Sex Creates  Stronger ‘swimmers’

There is no scientific basis for this belief.  Humans are warm-blooded mammals, and are fertile throughout the year. There is no connection between the time of the year you have sex and the chances of conception.

#4 Store up your sperm and have sex only during the "fertile time"

The approach of abstinence and consciously retaining your seed in order to increase the chances of scoring at least one direct hit is a flawed theory. Research has shown that sperm motility deteriorates in proportion to the time it is left in-situ. Thus, infrequent ejaculation can in fact contribute to infertility.

We advise   patients that they should have sex a minimum of 2 times a week – and the more the better. You cannot “run out of sperm”, so please don’t worry ! While the semen volume will decrease with repeated ejaculation, as long as the sperm are being deposited in the vagina, this will not affect their ability to fertilise the egg – and “fresh” sperm are motile and raring to go !  Frequent ejaculation clears-out old sperm, so that your semen now has more potent, new ones.

As you can see, there are a number of myths surrounding male infertility.

Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you better!

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