Some studies indicate that semen quality in men has declined in certain parts of the world in recent decades; however, the reasons for the decline in semen parameters have not been completely identified. Factors may include poor diet (leading to obesity and/or diabetes, cardiovascular disease) and environment (smoking, alcohol, marijuana, and other toxic chemicals including pollutants and pesticides), as well as medications (including narcotics, antibiotics, anti-hypertensives, exogenous testosterone), in addition to other causes such as genetics. Some mechanisms of the above may include alteration of testosterone/hormonal balance, while other effects occur from direct alterations of sperm production. Comprehensive counseling for couples with male factor infertility who try to conceive requires recommendations on lifestyle/diet and the possible negative effects of medication.
Aim: To provide practitioners with a concise summary of the latest studies/evidence to assist with counseling patients on the influence of lifestyle and medications on male factor infertility. Many commonly encountered issues related to diet and prescribed medications exhibit negative effects on male reproduction and spermatogenesis. Given the potentially significant impact, lifestyle and medications should be considered in the counseling of couples considering fertility and those with infertility.
Dr. Matthew Wosnitzer
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