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9 Jun 2017

Lifestyle clues in male infertility

Rith Basu, TT, June 8: The number of detected cases of infertility among men in Calcutta is increasing every year and doctors link this to higher stress levels, anxiety and unhealthy lifestyle.
Fertility experts believe unreported cases outnumber reported ones because of the stigma attached to male infertility.
According to doctors, many of those with infertility work till late at night, which can throw the biological clock haywire.
IT and banks are the worst, said a doctor at an event on male infertility in the city today.
Junk food, smoking, drinking, tight clothes, and spending a long time sitting, riding two-wheelers or using laptops while keeping them on the lap also impair the ability of testicles to produce sperm, a process that happens every two to two-and-a-half months.
The area around the groin heats up when the clothes are too tight or someone spends a lot of time sitting, said a doctor.
Motorcycle riders have to contend with greater heat and thus greater chance of harm.
"The temperature of the testicles is four degrees Celsius lower than the temperature of the rest of the body. Constant exposure to relatively more heat is damaging for the testicles," said Arindam Rath, consultant at Nova IVI Clinic, Calcutta.
The result often is low sperm count and low motility (ability of the sperm to swim up the uterus to fertilise an egg).
At the Nova IVI Clinic, male infertility accounted for 20 per cent of the cases in 2013-14. The figure has now crossed 31 per cent.
Infertility specialist Gautam Khastgir of the BIRTH Infertility Clinic also said the number of male infertility cases is constantly increasing.
While a handful of the patients have a family history, an infection or an injury, for most others, the problem stems from unhealthy lifestyle and work-related stress.
"Junk food leads to obesity and makes a person predisposed to diabetes, hypertension and thyroid problems. This, in turn, affects the capacity of the testicles to produce sperm," said Rath.
Employees of private banks with long working hours and "stress" and men who have to do regular night shifts complained of the lack of desire to have sex.
A 38-year-old man from Lake Town, who has a child and was planning a second, faced this problem. "His wife had a normal shift. They met only during weekends and often he was very tired then too," said the doctor treating him.
For men who smoke and drink, the problem is usually with the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, which in turn reduces blood circulation to the testicles and affects the production of sperm.
Fertility experts also spoke about and welcomed a trend of men visiting clinics before marriage to assess their fertility. "Those who do so, can get treated before marriage if necessary or at least know if they might need help," said Rath.

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