Men are assumed to be in a bubble, where they are hardcore, strong, unhurtable, and many such norms. But the truth is, being in high-pressure jobs and other responsibilities, have increased the levels of stress in men which is the main cause of their reproductive health. Stress not only has a direct effect on emotional and mental health but also impacts physical help to a greater extent.
Keeping aside all the assumptions, let’s take a view at myths and facts about the male reproductive system.
1. Myth- Infertility is just a female problem
Fact- The females are blamed for the inability to conceive in a couple. This is one of the biggest myths that exist to date, and it is usually because women are at the center of the entire process from getting pregnant to caring for the child full term to breastfeeding them and taking care of them. But it has been now proven that the cause of infertility can be from both males and females and can be traced to underlying conditions. The worldwide report says the couples who are unable to conceive are 40% due to underlying conditions in females, 40% due to conditions in males, and 20% due to conditions in both males and females i.e. couple itself.
2. Myth- Infertility affects only reproductive health and not the overall health of individuals.
Fact- The human body is a complex system and every function taking place in the body is related to another. Hence, an imbalance in one function does not exist as a single entity and causes a cascade of problems within the body. Similarly, infertility can result
due to a number of factors and not only due to the health problems associated with reproductive health. For example, many studies have revealed that there is a direct impact of hypertension on sperm quality, quantity, and motility. With the increase in environmental stressors and intake of unhealthy foods, studies have shown that there is a rise in blood pressure levels, which is responsible for the decline of sperm health. Further, diabetes also shows a direct impact on the reproductive system due to changes in hormonal levels, which reduces sperm quality and difficulty in ejaculation. Thus, the overall health of an individual has a direct impact on reproductive health and also may lead to infertility.
3. Myth- Consumption of harmful substances does not affect fertility.
Fact- Consumption of substances like cigarettes, and alcohol, have been resulting in a decrease in fertility in men. Studies have revealed that smoking is directly linked with a decrease in sperm density, sperm count, and the total number of motile sperm, compared to males who do not smoke. It can also be the reason for erectile dysfunction. Further, the consumption of alcohol in high quantities can affect fertility in a similar way in men, additionally decreasing testosterone levels.
4. Myth- Stress levels do not affect the reproductive health of men.
Fact- Struggling at the workplace, and due date tasks increases the stress of men which is the main cause of reproductive health. Stress has a direct effect on emotional, mental, and physical health, due to the release of hormones that leads to a decrease in testosterone levels and sperm production like glucocorticoids. Moreover, a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits have a direct impact on male reproductive health.
5. Myth- STIs and STDs have no effect on male fertility.
Fact- Sexually transmitted diseases or infections such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea are responsible for infertility in men. This can be controlled by limiting sex partners, using protection, and undergoing regular tests for STDs. A large proportion of adolescents and young adults who have been in contact with any STD may remain asymptomatic. Hence they may not be aware of any STD, which can negatively impact reproductive health causing infertility in the long run. STDs increase complications in sexual health and cause infertility in men by affecting sperm quality and quality.
6. Myth- There is no test to check male infertility.
Fact- With advancements in assisted reproductive technology it is now possible to detect and treat male infertility. Test like sperm DNA fragmentation can be used to define abnormal genetic material in sperm which in turn may lead to infertility, failure in IVF, and miscarriages. The advancement in fertility facilities provides the test through the sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA).
7. Myth- If a male has a child already may not have the risk of getting infertile later.
Fact- There are many reasons which are responsible for secondary infertility like irregular ovulation in women, reduced concentration of sperm in males, or imbalance in hormones that affect both men and women. Hence, there is no guarantee for later fertility in men.
8. Myth- Age does not affect male fertility.
Fact- Fertility in males declines with age. The sperm count and quality decrease as age increases. As overall health influences fertility, the health conditions like erectile dysfunction, cancers, and other health conditions including hypertension, sugar, etc., arising at ages also affect fertility.