There are many biases that exist in our world, one of them being gender bias but it is crucial to understand that sexual or fertility disorders are in no way connected to one’s masculinity and we need to break the taboo around these issues and allow men to speak up and seek help in terms of their sexual and reproductive health. Infertility affects about one in every 6-to 7 couples and is treatable only in a few cases but only up to a few extents.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sanjay Kalra, Endocrinologist and Expert panel at Kindly, shared a few tips to help men optimise their sexual and reproductive function. These include –
1. Resolve stress-related issues: Stress and anxiety contribute to sexual problems and men must address such issues to minimise the impact on their sperm quality as well as sexual desire.
2. Add antioxidants to your diet: Oxidative stress, caused due to factors like pollution, cigarette smoke, and a diet high in sugar and fat, can have a negative impact on sperm production and quality. Antioxidants can help address oxidative stress and free radicals, restoring semen health. Foods like leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, olives, and tomatoes contain antioxidants that can help.
3. Support your diet with supplements: It is important to bridge nutritional gaps with supplements such as Coenzyme – 10 which has shown a significant increase in sperm motility, count and improvement in fertility rate. You can also add lemon to your diet, which keeps the male dysfunction and distress away,
4. Avoid smoking and excessive drinking: Studies on smoking and semen quality found that smoking affects many aspects of sperm health, including decreased sperm counts, decreased sperm motility (the swimming ability of the sperm), and sperm shape. A study of people with alcohol use disorder found that only 12% of the men had completely normal sperm counts and health, compared to 37% of non-smokers and non-alcoholics.
5. An overall healthy lifestyle: A healthy diet, physical activity, stress management, and sleep pattern, help improve sexual desire and also sperm quality.
Adding to the list of tips on how men can uplift their fertility, Dr Saumya Tripathi (MD), Demat Consultant, suggested simply avoiding these 5 ordinary habits in their lifestyle:
1. Watch your weight (obesity) – Carrying some extra kilos is always a risk for infertile males. Whether you are underweight or overweight, it might affect your testosterone levels in the future and can alter the structure of germ cells.
2. Reduce alcohol consumption – Alcohol directly affects men’s fertility. It reduces libido, and lower down s testosterone levels which in return affects the quality of the sperm. So don’t take it beyond your capacity.
3. Smoking – To all those who smoke, go and check your sperm count. A non-smoker will always have more sperm counts than a smoker. Smoking also causes erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation in men.
4. Self medication/drug abuse – Using medicines without prescription or without consulting a doctor can be hazardous. There are certain drugs that have a negative impact on men or side effects like it might reduce the production of sperm.
5. Stress and lifestyle – Most men are facing issues like sedentary lifestyle, no exercise, work stress, junk food and lack of sleep when all of these unhealthy habits affect the general well-being of the patient, thereby affecting his sexual health and fertility.
Male reproductive health should not be viewed from a man-only prism. It should be viewed from a couple-centric lens, one must ensure not only male and female health but also good communication and interaction between both partners.