While reproductive health for women is discussed, there is not much information on how men can take care of theirs. In fact, there are many misconceptions out there around male reproductive and sexual health. With the International Men’s Health Week going on (June 14 — June 16), Dr Kshitiz Murdia, the CEO & co-founder of Indira IVF shares with indianexpress.com four basic things for millennial men to ensure sound reproductive health.
But before that, let us understand what kind of lifestyle choices affect men negatively. Dr Murdia states the following:
* Stress and sedentary lifestyle: Demanding jobs have increased stress in millennial males, which may be detrimental for their reproductive health. Stress has a direct effect on not just the mental and emotional state of males but also their physical health. It may cause the release of hormones which can decrease testosterone levels and sperm production, such as glucocorticoids. Apart from stress, there is also a sedentary lifestyle. Poor diet and no physical activity can impact male reproductive health.
* Substance intake: There have been multiple studies demonstrating that increased intake of substances such as alcohol, tobacco and smoking have adverse effects on reproductive health, leading to various fertility complications in males. In fact, tobacco has been linked with low sperm count as it affects spermatogenesis.
* Exposure to toxins: Exposure to toxic substances such as pesticides, radioactive chemicals, heavy metals etc., and anything that may lead to heating of the testicular region in males can be harmful for their reproductive health.
Healthy alternatives for sound reproductive and sexual health
1. Understanding challenges: It is important to educate and spread the word about reproductive challenges like low sperm count, low testosterone, impotence, STIs etc. There should be awareness about STIs and reproductive infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), syphilis, hepatitis B, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV) to take necessary precautions or seek medical help.
2. Active lifestyle: In the era of computers, smartphones and tablets, daily physical activity has drastically reduced. Swimming, jogging, cycling and other sports can help. Regular exercise helps build immunity, maintains hormone levels, especially for people with diabetes and heart-related diseases. These simple lifestyle changes can help reduce stress and other hormones that affect sperm production in the body.
3. Healthy diet: Consumption of fruits, vegetables and plenty of water is important. Junk food and processed food can be harmful in the longer run, hampering hormone levels in the body. A nutritional diet would help in ensuring not just a strong reproductive health, but also overall health.
4. Hygiene: Hygiene is an important factor in ensuring reproductive health. Male genital region is located outside the body to provide cooler temperature for the production of sperms. Personal hygiene such as washing hands after using the toilet, keeping the genital region clean, wearing clean and breathable underwear and ensuring general cleanliness are essential. These habits should be introduced at a young age to avoid diseases and infections caused by unsterile environments.