When it comes to men’s fertility, studies are finding that reproductive health is on the decline. In fact, research finds that the average sperm count has declined by 60 percent between 1973 and 2011.
This potential sperm count crisis is a pressing issue in the last few decades across the globe. While it may seem random, this decline has been linked to several factors, including an increased exposure to toxic chemicals, stress, poor diet, and excessive alcohol consumption.
The Sperm Count Crisis
According to a new study, sperm counts among men in Western countries have been declining for decades. The review analyzed data from 185 studies that included 43,000 men from 73 countries. During this review, researchers found that sperm concentration and sperm count declined by an average of 1.4 percent per year between 1973 and 2011.
This continued decline in sperm count has professionals feeling a sense of concern as it could lead to fertility problems and even an increased risk of testicular cancer. Due to the research-based theory that there is currently no way to reverse the trend, couples who are trying to conceive should be aware of the potential difficulties they may face should sperm counts and health be a contributing factor.
It is important to note however, a decline in sperm count or concentration is not necessarily indicative of infertility. However, it could signify the presence of other health issues that may impact fertility or result in longer periods of time before conception occurs.
The Potential Causes
A new review of data on sperm counts has found that they may be declining globally. The causes of this decline are not fully understood, but a number of factors are likely to be involved, and studies have suggested that exposure to certain chemicals, including those used in agriculture and industry, smoking, and obesity may all be playing a role.
Exposure to environmental pollutants may be affecting sperm production as there is some evidence that chemicals such as pesticides and industrial chemicals can disrupt the hormones that regulate sperm production.
Another possibility is that changes in the modern lifestyle may be having an impact. For example, obesity has been linked to lower sperm counts, and men who have sedentary lifestyles have also been found to have lower sperm counts than those who are more active. With job and lifestyle trends focusing on a more sedentary life positioned in front of computers and screens, it’s not inconceivable to think this is a possible cause.
It’s also possible that this decline may be a result of genetic factors. Studies have shown that sperm counts tend to be lower in populations where there is a history of infertility or testicular problems.
While many factors can influence sperm count, and it can be difficult to pinpoint a single cause for declining sperm count. However, these factors in combination with poor lifestyle habits such as diet, smoking, lack of exercise and added stress and there’s no doubt that sperm health can be affected.
The Big Picture of Declining Sperm Counts
The impact of declining sperm count is far-reaching. For one, some believe that these trends could indicate that fewer men can father children, which in turn, could lead to smaller families and, eventually, population decline. Additionally, this could have a significant impact on the mental and emotional health of men individually, and in their relationships.
Improving Sperm Count
While declining sperm counts may not improve on a large-scale trend, there are a variety of things men can do individually to increase their sperm count. Some preventative measures can include lifestyle changes that can make a big difference, such as exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight and avoiding or limiting exposure to toxins and chemicals. This may be done so by eating organic foods, using natural cleaning products, and avoiding smoking.
Additionally, managing stress levels is essential, as is getting enough sleep. Finally, some supplements can help increase sperm counts, such as Co-enzyme Q10, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Talking to a doctor about what might work best for an individual’s situation is always recommended as a specialist may be able to identify the cause of the impaired sperm health.
While declining sperm counts is worrying to think about, it’s important to remember that the study is still in its early stages. More research is needed to confirm these findings and determine an exact cause of the decline. In the meantime, for men concerned about their fertility, making efforts to improve sperm count, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding exposure to toxins, and seeking help from a doctor are all ways to improve the likelihood of conceiving.
For A 30-Day Guide for Improving Sperm Health, click here.