In the journey towards building a happy and healthy family, reproductive health plays a vital role for both women and men. While women are often the focus of discussions surrounding fertility and reproductive wellness, it is crucial to remember that men’s reproductive health is equally significant. Just as women take proactive steps to optimize their own fertility, they can also play an active role in supporting and improving male fertility.
This International Men’s Health Week, we are talking about men’s reproductive health for a reason. A recent study published in a reputed journal showed that there has been over a 50 percent decline in sperm counts worldwide, including in India, over the last four decades. This is an alarming finding that indicates poor reproductive health!
Health Shots got in touch with Dr Giridhar Venkatesh, Senior Consultant, Urologist, Kauvery Hospital, Electronic City, Bengaluru, to know how to boost male fertility.
Dr Venkatesh says, “In this modern era, where knowledge is power, it is essential to understand that reproductive health is not solely the responsibility of one partner. By becoming informed and actively participating in the process, women can contribute to their partner’s overall well-being and enhance their chances of achieving a successful conception.”
Dear women, here are 5 things that can help improve your partner’s reproductive health:
Over the last few decades, there is a rise in the use of plastics, environmental pollutants, carbon emissions, and global warming. These factors affect overall health including reproductive health, increasing the risk of infertility. Reducing plastic use and other pollutants like artificial sweeteners, flavouring agents and food preservatives, can improve sperm counts and quality significantly. Although global warming can’t be stopped at individual levels, cumulatively we can make an attempt to reduce it.
Digital well-being is another term that’s becoming popular. It implies reduced exposure to electronic gadgets like mobiles, tablets, laptops, gaming devices, etc. They should not be kept too close to the body. A recent study suggested that Wi-Fi signals from cellphones kept in pant pockets adversely affected sperm motility and quality significantly. Electronic gadgets close to the body increase the scrotal (the external sac that contains the testicles) temperature and impair sperm production and quality. So make sure you avoid keeping these gadgets close to you all the time.
Good reproductive health begins with a healthy lifestyle. But lifestyle disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are on the rise in young men, and more rapidly after the Covid-19 pandemic. For couples experiencing difficulties in conceiving, male infertility is one of the main causes. However, studies have shown that lifestyle factors are crucial for healthy sperm motility and semen quality. So, encourage your partner to maintain a balanced diet, engage in regular physical exercise, and manage stress effectively.
Smoking, regular alcohol consumption, recreational drugs and prolonged use of anabolic steroids are known to severely reduce sperm production. The testicular tissue is very sensitive to circulating toxins, and continuous exposure to these toxins can permanently damage sperm production. In addition, they also cause harmful mutations, leading to severe fetal malformations and birth defects. Without a second thought, ask your partner to reduce the consumption of these toxic agents immediately in order to improve reproductive health.
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A lot of couples put their careers and professions ahead of their personal lives and postpone conception until their late 30s. It is a well-established fact now that with advancing age, sperm quality declines, and pregnancy becomes more difficult. Since not many men are aware of this fact, it is time to help your partner be aware of this fact and give equal importance to their family lives. The optimal age for conception among both men and women is below the age of 30, and it can be extended up to 35 years. Beyond this age, reproductive health declines, and couples will find it difficult not only to conceive but also to maintain pregnancy, in addition to an increased risk of fetal malformations.
Engage in open and honest conversations about reproductive health with your partner. Encourage your partner to express any concerns or questions they may have regarding their reproductive health. Provide emotional support and show understanding, as fertility-related issues can be challenging for both partners. Moreover, encourage them to maintain regular medical check-ups, including visits to a reproductive health specialist if necessary. Offer support and accompany them to appointments if they feel comfortable.
Quality sleep is essential for maintaining optimal overall health, including male fertility. It encourages hormonal balance and reproductive health in both men and women. So, encourage your partner to prioritize sleep hygiene and ensure they get enough rest each night.
Improving reproductive health is a journey that requires both partners to work together. By implementing these tips and showing support, women can play a pivotal role in empowering their partners to prioritize and enhance their reproductive health. Together, you can embark on a shared path toward building a healthy future and realizing your dreams of starting or expanding your family. Also, make sure to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice and guidance specific to your partner’s individual needs and problems.