A number of environmental factors that can also diminish sperm production and sperm activity. The most prevalent is smoking. Tobacco, in all forms, is a major health risk [source: Wald et al]. Studies show that smokers can suffer close to a 25 percent reduction in sperm concentration and more than 10 percent decline in sperm motility.
While moderate alcohol use has no deleterious effect on sperm, the same can't be said for alcohol abuse, which has been linked to hormonal problems. Many "recreational" drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana, can both contribute to erectile dysfunction and inhibit the production of hormones that create sperm. Anabolic steroids can suppress testosterone and severely limit fertility. Unchecked, steroid use can lead to irreparable damage to the male reproductive system [sources: Klein; Werner]
Even prescription medications taken with a physician's consent -- such as drugs to control chronic conditions like high blood pressure -- can inhibit sperm development. Be sure to check with your doctor. Men who are about to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer should consider having their sperm frozen.
Furthermore, you should exercise caution when using common household and workplace chemicals, such as pesticides and solvents, which can adversely effect sperm production.
Want to know more about boosting your fertility? We have lots more information below.
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- Fertility & Infertility. "5 common causes of male infertility." (April 19, 2011)http://www.theinfertility.info/5-common-male-infertility.html
- Gynecomastia, Male Breast Tissue. "Frustrating for Men: The Top 5 Common Causes of Male Infertility." (April 19, 2011)http://maleboob.com/article.cfm/id/247214
- Hardy, Ian. M.D., PhD. Medical director for Fertility Centers of New England. E-mail conversation. April 18, 2011.
- Klein, Kevin. "The Fertility Diet for Him." BabyZone. (April 21, 2011)http://www.babyzone.com/preconception/getting_pregnant/article/male-fertility-diet
- Male Infertility Specialists. "What are the most common causes of male infertility?" (April 19, 2010)http://www.maleinfertilityspecialists.com/faq2.htm
- Mayo Clinic. "Healthy sperm: Improving your fertility." Dec. 16, 2010. (April 18, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fertility/MC00023
- MedlinePlus. "Saw palmetto." National Institutes of Health. Dec. 6, 2010. (April 19, 2011)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/971.html
- Regan, Lesley. "The incredible journey." The Times. Oct. 5, 2005. (April 18, 2011)http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article418322.ece
- Stenson, Jacqueline. "Guys, eat fruits and veggies to improve fertility." MSNBC. Oct. 24, 2006. (April 17, 2011)http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15389873/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/
- Wald, Moshe et al. "Male Infertility." University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. March 2006. (April 19, 2010)http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/urology/maleinfertility/index.html
- Werner, Michael A. "Male Infertility." Jan. 19, 2011. (April 20, 2010)http://www.wernermd.com/MaleInfertility.html
HowStuffWorks looks at whether women dealing with fertility issues are more likely to conceive naturally after they adopt or get pregnant with IVF.