Life for the modern man isn’t as easy as it may seem. The formerly distinct lines between gender roles have now been blurred, and one of the defining elements of masculinity is now under fire. We’re talking about sperm, and recent research has revealed that sperm counts have declined over 50% in the last century.
It may be hard to believe that since we still seem to be producing children at an alarming rate. The population of the world is larger than it’s ever been, and if you’ve decided to not have children to improve our environment, then this discovery may not bother you. However, if you do plan on starting a family, you might want to educate yourself on these potential threats to fertility, and reduce the chances that they’ll affect your life.
Harmful Effects of Cell Phones
There have been many headlines over the years pointing out the negative effects cell phones can have on your sexual health. A university study in Hungary concluded that there was a significant link between frequent cell phone use and low sperm counts. Those that used them the most had sperm counts that were nearly 30% below average.
They warned that keeping the phone on while in pockets at the hip, or closer to the groin area, made things worse. Though a study has not been done to formally refute the claim, many researchers still question their findings.
Solution: Turn the phone off and put it in another pocket when not in use, just to be safe.
Laptops Overheating your Hardware
Lots of stories have been told about laptops randomly catching fire in the laps of unsuspecting men, but your laptop doesn’t even need to get that hot to damage your manhood. A study done at a New York university found that slight increases in the temperature of the scrotum, by as little as 2 degrees, can lead to deficiencies in sperm counts. Even if you feel you have a laptop that doesn’t get very hot, the position you have to sit in to hold it concentrates your body heat and any heat from outside sources directly on to your crotch.
Solution: Consider using your laptop on a table or desk instead.
Dangers of Car Seats
Research also shows that heat issues exist in cars too. The focus of sunlight through the windows, coupled with heat-absorbent materials, and prolonged waiting in traffic can have similar effects on sperm count as laptops. Today, some cars even contain heated seats for use during cold weather, which can heat up your testicles and lower your sperm count even more.
Solution: Take time to stop and get out of the car during long drives, or try to use public transport more often.
Rethink Your Fashion Choices
Though it’s probably not the most popular of fashion choices these days, tight pants or underwear can have negative effects on your manhood in many ways. It can negatively effect blood flow, cause irregularity in the shape of the penis when erect, and it concentrates more heat to the area causing dangerous changes to your sperm count.
Solution: Wear loose fitting clothing, or at least go with a material that has more airflow.
Real Men Might Not Eat Soy
Harvard University did a study that showed a correlation between soy intake and lower sperm counts. However, The Soyfoods Association refuted the claim, pointing out that men in east Asian countries eat large amounts of soy without ill effects. Some other studies show that raw soy products can cause the body to produce more estrogen, which can lead to male obesity and a decline in sperm production. Some now argue that east Asian countries often eat soy in a fermented form, and that their soy beans don’t have as much generic modification as those in the western world.
Solution: Whatever study you side with, a balanced diet should be your goal.
Obesity and your Sperm
The university of Southern Denmark reported that men who had a BMI over 25 were more likely to have lower sperm counts, some up to 24% lower than healthy men of the same age. The study by Harvard that we previously mentioned also showed that most men in the group that regularly ate soy were overweight. To make things even more confusing, a study by the US Endocrine Society apparently debunked both by stating there was no notable connection between obesity and sperm count.
Solution: Whether it affects sperm count or not, there are many other benefits to staying at a healthy weight.
There have been countless studies that address the link between smoking and fertility problems in men, whether it’s done with tobacco or marijuana makes little difference. Drinking large amounts of alcohol can impair the cells that generate sperm, and can even cause nerve damage in the penis. This means that the more often you drink, the lower your sperm count and semen volume will be. It could also lead to erectile dysfunction, amongst a wide range of serious general health issues.
Solutions: As always, eliminate your bad habits, or at least do them in moderation.
Problems Caused by Environmental Pollution
The rapid increase in chemical and industrial pollution is having many adverse effects on health, and is believed to be the biggest factor in the declining sperm counts of men in the western world. Our growing populations, and our inability to adapt to new forms of energy, are only going to make matters worse over time.
Solution: This isn’t something that can really be controlled on a personal level, though you could move to cities with lower pollution levels. People are pushing for governments to get more involved in cleaning up air pollution, but it’s going to take a lot more action to make it a priority.
Stress and Your Hormones
It’s been medically proven many times that stress can change the level of sex hormones in our system. Lowered testosterone and heightened estrogen can slow sperm production, lower libido, and increase weight gain. If the imbalance becomes more severe, it can even change your personality and cause some minor feminization of physical characteristics in men.
Solution: Visit a doctor to get tests done on your hormone levels and sperm counts.