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Stress and male infertility

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Stress and male infertility are interlinked as it is one of the most prevalent reasons behind males turning impotent. A fertile male has good quality of sperm which is capable of fertilizing the ovum. This attribute of sperms can be damaged by stress due to several reasons.

How stress can affect fertility of males?

Characteristics of fertile male:

  • Sperm count is normal. Low sperm count means less than 15 million sperms/ml.
  • Sperms exhibit normal motility i.e. they are capable of swimming to reach the ovum and fertilize them
  • Your testosterone levels are normal – i.e. its  helping in producing sufficient sperms
  • Your sperms are mixing properly with the semen after being produced in the testicles.

It’s important to know characteristics of a fertile male because one of the aforementioned factors will be challenged due to stress related infertility.

Stress and infertility explained

A recent study was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, conducted by a team of researchers from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York  and Rutgers School of Public Health in Piscataway on the subject whether stress actually affects sperm and semen quality.

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The test reports were immensely clear that men who experienced stress at different phases of their life had low sperm count and lower percentage of sperm morphology than individuals who had active, happy and stress-free life. Other factors like age, history of medical complications or reproductive problems were also taken into account while conducting the experiment.

Infertility occurred due to the following reasons

  • Stress led to depletion of the hormone testosterone which resulted in poor quality of semen and sperms.
  • Stress induced production of excessive glucocorticoid (a steroid hormone) that lowers testosterone levels and sperm count
  • Another factor was also explored i.e. oxidative stress, caused due to emotional and physical stress. The healthy sperm cells get oxidized due to release of free radicals in the body, thereby resulting in poor semen quality and low sperm count.

Reasons behind stress and infertility

Now that you know how stress can lead to infertility, it is important for you to understand the factors responsible for pushing you under stressful situation.

Chronic stress mainly occurs from ongoing relationship problems with your spouse and family. When you constantly think of the problems your brain stops functioning in a normal way.

The second and most common reason behind stress is – work pressure and job dissatisfaction. A huge population of men suffers from this problem and they are highly vulnerable to becoming infertile in the future.  

Sudden employment, loss of loved ones, too much physical exertion, financial problems, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and several other related factors can create momentary phases of stress in your life which if not handled well can lead to infertility later.

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Managing stress and infertility

The first and immediate step is- ward off stress. You can go for counseling, stress management classes, exercise, pursue your hobbies and give time to self to manage stress. This way you dissuade yourself from the track of infertility

Infertile males need help, especially if they are planning for a family. They should discuss their challenges with their spouse and consult a sexologist who would offer the right solution to them.