By John Salak –
Infertility issues can be psychologically and physically devastating to couples desperate to have children. Sadly, the problem is rising in the U.S. and elsewhere, the Holtorf Medical Group reports. Now, in fact, perhaps 12 percent of couples ages 15 to 49 years are forced to confront these challenges, which can be caused by a range of conditions.
What may be less realized is that at least a third of the time men are responsible for infertility issues either through problems with their sperm or its production, Babymed.com reports. All sorts of medical, lifestyle and environmental reasons can acerbate these issues.
These include medical conditions such as swelling of veins (varicocele), infections, tumors, undescended testicles and hormonal conditions, according to Healthshots.com. Lifestyle can also play a factor, especially when smoking and drinking are involved. Excessive exposure to radiation or heat, even when generated from laptops or cell phones, also risks harming sperm production.
Age also takes a toll on male reproductive capabilities, although “why” remains “poorly understood.” Now, recent research has offered new clues as to why men tend to have fertility issues as they age. Certainly, age-related medical conditions can play a factor. However, the added weight that comes with age may also contribute to the problem.
New research, in fact, found that those abnormalities associated with aging sperm cells might be exacerbated by elevated body mass index (BMI), according to a report from the University of Utah School of Medicine.
“Aging may confer a combination of modest molecular changes that sensitize the testis for additional dysregulation, with pronounced dysregulation caused when aging is combined with additional factors such as obesity,” the report’s co-senior author Bradley Cairns explained.
The university’s conclusions came from using single-cell RNA sequencing to profile more than 44,000 cells obtained from autopsy testis samples from four young men and eight older men.
Notably, BMI emerged as a critical factor among older individuals, whose cells showed abnormalities. Weight wasn’t the only consideration. But the researchers stressed that when the results were examined as a whole, the complex testicular changes associated with aging are possibly exacerbated “by concurrent chronic conditions such as obesity.”
More research is needed on the impact of weight on male reproductive health. But until that’s clarified, one fertility expert provided a menu of symptoms that may signal issues at hand.
“Any health issue in men that lowers/hinders the chances of their female partner getting pregnant is known as male infertility,” reported Dr. Pallavi Prasad, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility. “Usually, the signs include problems in performing intercourse like erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, or reduction of sexual desire or libido. There could also be pain or discomfort in the testicular area, abnormal breast growth, decreased body/facial hair, loss of muscle mass or voice change that could indicate male infertility.”