Reproductive health is not only the responsibility of women. Yes, men are just as responsible of ensuring that they take care of themselves to get the best results when trying to conceive.
While this is a topic that most men may shy away from, research suggests that about 9% of men and about 11% of women of reproductive age have experienced fertility problems. According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), if a man is infertile, he is unable to impregnate a fertile woman for at least one year of unprotected sex.
There are overwhelming statistics of cases where the male may be the reason why the couple cannot conceive. While there may be more compelling reasons for male infertility on a case-by-case basis, sometimes it’s just due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
There are four common reproductive health issues that men face, most of which are avoidable.
Impotence (erectile dysfunction)
This is when a man is unable to achieve and maintain an erection for intercourse. Possible causes of impotence include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, low testosterone, and excessive use of alcohol. Most of these are lifestyle-related diseases, which can be corrected by living a healthy lifestyle, including eating well and exercising regularly.
Low sperm count
Low sperm count is when the male semen has a lot less sperm that it should. This condition is also referred to as oligospermia. If an individual has zero sperm, it is known as azoospermia. According to Healthline, “The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies sperm counts at or above 15 million sperm per milliliter (mL) of semen as average. Anything below that is considered low and is diagnosed as oligospermia.”
Drug and alcohol use, as well as weight problems, are also listed among the causes of oligospermia, which too can be avoided just by living a healthy lifestyle.
Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males. It is responsible for among other things sex drive and sperm production. Obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are also contributing factors to low testosterone.
Testicular cancer, as the name suggests, occurs in the testicles, which are found inside the scrotum. The scrotum is a loose bag of skin beneath the penis. Testicles produce sperm and sex hormones for reproduction. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the lifetime risk for testicular cancer in South Africa men is one in 1 959. Testicular cancer has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers. Early detection, as with other cancers, is vital to curing testicular cancer.
It is quite evident from all the notes above that reproductive health is not only a female topic, but it concerns both males and females. It’s very apparent that lifestyle diseases like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are the greatest causes of male infertility. A healthy lifestyle that includes eating healthy and regular exercise is the strongest weapon we have against infertility.