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Lifestyle & Diet - The Factors

Lifestyle Factors That Affect Your Fertility

Alcohol
There is no question about it - alcohol consumption has been definitively linked to impaired fertility in both men and women. In men, alcohol consumption may damage the sperm or reduce sperm counts. Limiting alcohol consumption is one of the most important things you can do to maximize your fertility. You may ask, "How much is okay to drink?" Although there is no magic answer, you should know that even moderate alcohol consumption (1-5 drinks/week) has been associated with a decline in female fertility. Although a similar comparison is not available for men, it is prudent for both sexes to reduce alcohol intake as much as possible when trying to conceive.

Drugs - recreational, anabolic steroids
Most of the information regarding the effects of recreational drugs on male reproductive health addresses libido and sexual dysfunction. Drug abuse with heroin, amphetamines, cocaine, and PCP

has been associated with decreased libido, erectile failure, and ejaculatory problems. Furthermore, drugs such as heroin are known to interfere with normal hormonal production, leading to decreased LH and testosterone levels. Anabolic steroids, frequently used by athletes to increase muscle mass, can significantly impact sperm production, and reduce sperm counts. Currently, the impact of recreational drug use on future fertility is yet unknown, therefore discontinuation is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your fertility and your overall health.

Herbs and Supplements
Here are some herbs and supplements that may adversely affect your fertility. All of these are available without a prescription and at least one of these is likely to be present in many households. If you are concerned about other natural products or require more details, consult your physician. I also recommend that anyone having difficulty conceiving talk to their physician about any herbal products, supplements, or other over-the-counter products they may presently be taking. Be sure to visit Boosting Your Fertility to learn about some Herbal Products and Nutritional Supplements that may positively impact your Fertility.


HERBS TO AVOID IN MEN TRYING TO CONCEIVE:

Cotton (Gossypium Herbaceum)
Other names: Cottonroot
This herb has been used in China as a male contraceptive.

St. John's Wort
One study showed that St. John's Wort in high doses was toxic to hamster sperm. Its effect on human sperm is unknown; however it would be logical to avoid this herb until more studies are available.

Androstenedione
A supplement that has received a lot of press for its ability to enhance "athletic performance" and increase testosterone levels in the body. At this time, there are still many questions regarding the safety as well as the efficacy of this supplement since it has a lot of the same properties as anabolic steroids. Until more information is available about this supplement, its use can not be recommended.

Smoking
Smoking can have a negative impact on both male and female fertility. It is important to note that exposure to second hand smoke can be just as harmful as smoking itself. In men, smoking can reduce sperm counts and impair sperm motility. In women, smoking has been linked to impaired fertility and increased risk of miscarriage. Although it may be difficult, stopping smoking is an important lifestyle change that maximizes your chances of becoming pregnant. There are many products available on the market to help you stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about the most appropriate smoking cessation program for you.

Heat
It is generally recommended that the male partner avoid frequent saunas and hot baths. High temperatures are believed to interfere with sperm production, and may therefore lower the sperm count. Avoiding heat in no way implies that the man should not take a hot shower!

Clothing - boxers vs. briefs
Are boxers or briefs most suitable when trying to conceive? This is a common question asked by men and their partners in the process of trying to have a baby. Although there is no definitive literature supporting either one, most sources will recommend that the man wear loose fitting clothing, which means boxer shorts and loose trousers. The reason for this is that tight clothing can increase the temperature in the scrotum and as a result, decrease the sperm production.

Timing of Sexual Intercourse
Timing sexual intercourse around the time of ovulation can be one of the easiest and most effective strategies that you can take to enhance your chances of conception. The man is constantly making sperm, however the woman's fertile period only happens once a month! Therefore, it is important to time intercourse during that fertile period.

Occupational Hazards - chemicals & radiation
The impact of extensive exposure to chemicals on fertility in men mostly comes from anecdotal reports. Exposure to heavy metals, particularly lead, pesticides, and anesthetic gases has been associated with potential impairments to sperm quality. This list is certainly not exhaustive, and there may be other chemicals, yet unknown, that can negatively affect a man's reproductive ability. Radiation treatment (perhaps for cancer) may affect sperm production, and therefore impact fertility. If you work with environmental chemicals or are exposed to radiation on a routine basis, and are experiencing difficulty in achieving pregnancy, you should speak to your doctor. Occupational hazards are considered a risk factor for infertility.

Stress
Stop to consider the effect that stress can have on your emotional well being, your personal relationships, and even your sex life. Clearly, a healthy and enjoyable sex life is an important part of working with your partner to conceive a child. Whether the stress is caused by work, an active lifestyle, or your conscious effort to conceive, we have tips on keeping the stress to a minimum on your quest for a child.


Quoted from --  http://www.fertilitext.org/p4_male/life_factors.html

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