Effects of Stress on Male Fertility
Male infertility is quite widespread and up to 50% of all infertility cases are attributed to males in some way. The most common cause of infertility is the failure of spermatogenesis. In recent times, lifestyle-related factors that cause infertility have garnered the attention of fertility experts and specialists. Lack of physical activity, obesity, smoking, irregular sleep cycles, mental stress, pollution, use of cell phones have all been blamed for the increase in infertility. Stress is also commonly cited as the cause of infertility or at least as a factor that contributes to it.
Today, stress is an unavoidable part of our daily life. Stress can be explained as emotional and/or physiological reactions of an individual in response to adverse or uncomfortable situations. More often than not, these situations are out of the individual’s control causing a lot of stress. Several different studies have revealed the connection between stress and higher mortality rates and also the incidence of certain diseases.
Effects of stress on the body
Simply put, the body uses up a lot of its resources to cope with stress. This can lead to a poor immune system and lead to hormone imbalances and, in turn, can lead to the weakening of the body making it susceptible to diseases and other physiological disorders. Stress can greatly reduce the quality of the sperms as it causes low testosterone levels and an oxidative state. In an oxidative state, there is a high level of free radicals in the semen. High testosterone levels and low free radical levels is an optimum condition for a man to produce healthy sperms.
Scientific studies about the relationship between stress and infertility
In a study, high self-reported stress was linked with low semen value, low total sperm count, decreased sperm concentration in the semen, and reduced number of healthy sperms. It was also noticed that the higher the amount of stress the individual reported, the more the health of sperms were affected.
Another study showed that men who had gone through more than two stressful events that impacted their life had lower motility of sperm and higher morphological abnormalities when compared to men who did not experience any stressful events in life.
The good news is that stress-related infertility issues can be reversed if the individuals are treated with stress-reducing therapies. The study divided 20 men into two groups. One group was given stress-reducing therapy and the other group did not receive the therapy. At the end of the study, the group that was on stress-reducing therapy showed a marked improvement in sperm motility, sperm count, and the number of healthy sperm in the semen.
How to cope with stress?
Stress is something that cannot be avoided in the current lifestyle and routine. Use the following steps to help you cope with stress.
- Be active
Exercise is a great stress buster. Choose something that you love to do and keep at it consistently.
- Think about taking natural supplements
There are many stress-reducing supplements available in the market. Talk to your doctor to learn about these and to find one that is suitable for you.
- Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine is often used to keep us energetic but it can cause stress. Reduce your caffeine consumption or avoid it altogether.
- Make a list of your worries
Writing down the things that are causing stress may help you take your mind off it. It can also help you simplify your issues. When you see your worries written on paper, they may not seem as large to you. Maintaining a daily journal may help.
- Sleep well
A night of deep and rested sleep can help reduce stress.
- Spend time with loved ones
Take time off of your busy routine and spend time with your family and friends. You can also pamper yourself with some self-love. All of these can relieve your stress.
- Say no to things that induce stress
You can’t always please everyone all the time. Saying no to stressful things, events and people can go a long way to preserve your mental health.