Physical labour, hypertension, and multiple meds may reduce male fertility

A new study suggests that working in a physically demanding job, having high blood pressure, or taking multiple medications may lead to male infertility.

The study was conducted at the National Institutes of Health and Stanford University, California. According to the researchers, this study is the first of its kind to examine the relationship between physical exertion at work, health, and semen quality. Semen quality is based on the quantity and quality (shape and movement) of sperm. The study included 456 men who were trying to conceive with their partners. The researchers found that 13% of the men who worked in physically demanding jobs had lower sperm counts, compared to 6% of men who reported no workplace exertion. Interestingly, no other workplace exposure such as heat, noise, or long periods of sitting were found to affect sperm quality.

The researchers also found that men with higher blood pressure had lower percentages of normally shaped sperm. There were no differences in the semen parameters of study participants who had diabetes or high cholesterol. Lastly, the researchers found that the more medications a man reported taking, the greater his risk of having a low sperm count. Of the men who reported taking two or more medications, 15% had sperm counts below 39 million (a normal sperm count is above 40 million).

Dr. Buck Louis, the study’s senior NIH officer, says of the findings:

“The good news is that these factors, if they are confirmed to have negative effects on male fertility, can potentially be modified by medical care or changing job-related behaviors. We look forward to additional research in this area.”

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