Infertility is often characterized as a woman’s issue, but male infertility accounts for an estimated 40% of fertility problems in couples who have difficulty conceiving. And when it comes to a man’s fertility, a number of common factors can be at play, says UCLA urologist Dr. Jesse Mills.
Here’s what dads-to-be – and their partners – need to know about male fertility.
Basic lifestyle changes are fundamental
"Eat, move, sleep." That's a mantra Mills, who serves as the director at The Men's Clinic at UCLA, recites to all his patients.
Taking care of diet, exercise, and sleep is a vital part of a man's overall health and, in turn, reproductive health.
Overweight or obese men have a higher incidence of fertility issues. One potential reason is that larger thighs can cause the testicles to be at a higher temperature, affecting sperm health. Obesity also causes decreased testosterone.
In any event, diet, exercise, and sleep all help to stabilize weight – and improve a man's health overall.
Stress is a very real factor in fertility
"I can't tell you how many men I see in my clinic that are not only stressed professionally but have the added stressor that comes with trying to get pregnant," says Mills. "Just that stress of making a baby is enough to send couples fighting and not being able to accomplish their fertility goals, and that doesn't do anyone any good."
If stress is an issue, it's important to do what you can to reduce it. Again, exercise helps, says Mills, as does sufficient sleep.
Some things can signify a potential medical problem
There are certain red flags that could indicate a potential medical problem affecting a man's fertility. Mills says men should look out for the following issues and let a physician know if they're experiencing any of them:
If any of the above medical issues pertain to you, or if you and your partner have been trying to conceive for six months without a pregnancy, a visit to a men's health specialist is a good idea. Physicians are able to perform a number of tests to determine the root of fertility issues, and there are a number of surgical and medical options to repair such issues and help couples reach their fertility goals.
For more health stories and news, follow @UCLAHealthNews on Twitter.
Tags: diet, Dr. Jesse Mills, exercise, Father's Day, fertility, lifestyle changes, male infertility, men's health, Men's Health, News & Insights, nutrition, obesity, pregnancy, sleep, The Men's Clinic, urologist, urology, Urology