It is common for couples to think of fertility wellness as the woman’s responsibility. However, it is important for the man to be just as prepared as the woman. Keep in mind that over 33% of all fertility issues are related solely to the man. Another 33% of all problems are from issues dealing with both partners as a couple. Therefore, it is important for men to take pre-conception health seriously—his health is directly related to fertility too.
START OFF RIGHT: GET A PHYSICAL
We all know how notorious men can be in avoiding trips to the doctor. However, starting off right with a physical is a good way to make sure that your journey to conception will be successful without any unknown issues from his side.
This is one of those easy appointments that may rule out months of heartaches from failed attempts to conceive.
MEDICATIONS AND MALE FERTILITY
Some medications can adversely impact fertility in men and should be avoided if possible. If you are taking any medications, you want to discuss them with your doctor and find out if they have any effect on fertility. This is especially true if you are taking long term medications for cholesterol, heart-disease, high-blood pressure, or any other chronic condition.
Here is a list of medications and medical treatments that are known to have a negative effect on fertility for men
• Tagament, sulfasalazine, or nitrofurantoin – lower sperm production and count
• Steroids including prednisone and cortisone
• Chemotherapy and radiation – lowers sperm production and can even cause sterility
IMPORTANT: You always want to discuss quitting or changing any of your medications with your health care provider first.
The place where you work or some recreational activities may involve exposures to agents that can lower sperm quality or quantity or even cause infertility. Here is a list of agents from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health that are known to have potential effects on fertility for men:
• Ethylene glycol ethers
LIFE STYLE CHANGES
There are a number of easy changes men can make in their lives that will have a direct impact on healthy sperm production. The American Pregnancy Association recommends men follow these tips:
• Get plenty of rest and sleep
• Exercise regularly
• Eat foods that are high in zinc (whole grain cereals, seafood, eggs)
• Avoid alcohol and smoking
• Stop using any illicit drugs
• Keep the testicles from getting too hot from:
››Hot tubs, saunas, heating pads
››Tight briefs and spandex
• Take male fertility supplements to complement healthy eating
It is just as important for men to take pre-conception health as serious as women. The quality and quantity of sperm available during ovulation are directly tied to environmental, nutrition, health and lifestyle factors that can be easily changed. More and more studies are starting to show that fertility and birth defects are related to the health of a man. Men should do what they can to invest in their own health because it is also an investment in their fertility and the health of their future child.
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