Each year millions of people and couples are affected by infertility, yet there are many simple ways to prevent infertility from affecting you. It is always easier to implement infertility prevention than treat infertility.
If you are planning happy healthy family, it is better to know what could prevent you from suffering infertility in your future life. Some causes of infertility are related to lifestyle or other health conditions.
Infertility & Safe Sex
Avoid sexually transmitted diseases. It would be wise to limit sex partners and use condoms to reduce the risk of getting sexually transmitted disease (STD) including HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, trichomoniasis, etc. Some STDs (especially undetected and untreated) can damage your reproductive system and cause infertility. If you think you may have an STD, get treatment promptly to reduce the risk of damage to your reproductive system.
Condoms can prevent sexually transmitted infections. Be sure you know how to choose the right condom, how to use a male condom correctly and/or how to use a female condom.
Infertility, Sex Frequency and Position
Some couples are trying to have very often sex for getting pregnant. Unfortunately it is the wrong strategy. In this case you should not think about quantity but sperm quality. Couples, who have frequent intercourse, up to five times per week, seem to get pregnant the fastest. But for better sperm and high chances for pregnancy it is recommended having intercourse with minimum intervals of 36-48 hours especially during ovulation. Sexual position does not play a role in fertility and/or in infertility.
Infertility, Age and Reproduction Planning
Most experienced doctors-reproductologists would recommend having children sooner. Women fertility is naturally decreasing with age, especially after 35 – in the late 30s and 40s. Men’s sperm production also deteriorates with age.
Women after 35 have higher risk for multiple sexual partners which is increasing chances for sexually transmitted infections. Age factor is also important for several diseases and conditions such as menstrual dysfunctions, hormonal imbalance, endometriosis, PCOS, uterine polyps and fibroids.
Infertility & Smoking
It is strongly recommended to avoid using tobacco (cigarettes) and marijuana, which reduce fertility, especially by reducing sperm counts. Smoking has been linked to low sperm counts and sluggish sperm movement in men, and an increase in miscarriage in women.
Infertility & Alcohol
Alcohol (especially binge drinking or chronic abuse), affects the fertility of both men and women trying to conceive either naturally or through infertility treatments. Alcohol is toxic to sperm; it reduces sperm counts, can interfere with sexual performance, disrupt hormone balances and increase the risk of miscarriage.
Avoid excessive alcohol use, which may damage eggs and/or sperm.
Infertility, Nutrition and Weight Control
Maintain your normal body weight and check your BMI. It is well known that increased weight (over-weight and/or obesity) could have negative influence at fertility. Obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes can affect ejaculation, sperm production, ovulation, miscarriage rates and increase fetal malformation rates. Being underweight can also affect your hormone production and cause infertility. A balanced diet is important for numerous health concerns including fertility – normal weight can reduce the possibility of hormone imbalances both in men and women.
Balanced diet includes carbohydrates, protein and fibre. All women should increase folic acid intake (found in green leafy vegetables, fruit, cereals, but also available as supplements) prior to and during the first three months of pregnancy, to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
Just maintain your body weight and avoid weight extremes such as anorexia, obesity and overweight. Poor nutrition seems to physically change the proteins in the brain so they can no longer send the proper signals for normal ovulation.
Infertility & Caffeine
Morning and on-going cup of coffee sometimes becoming a lifestyle for many women and men. If you are planning pregnancy, better limit caffeine. It is recommended for women trying to get pregnant to limit caffeine intake to no more than 200-250 milligrams of caffeine a day (one or two cups of coffee).
Infertility, Intensive sport and/or Intensive Fitness
Healthy lifestyle, regular exercises including some fitness and exercises (moderately) are recommended but any abuse to damage your reproductive system. Excessive exercises can lead to menstrual disorders (irregular periods, oligomenorrhea, amenorrhea, menstrual bleeding, etc.) in young women and affect sperm production in men due to the heat build-up around the testicles.
It is important to mention that passive life and sedentary lifestyles lead to weight problems, which can potentially impact your fertility.
Infertility & Safe Contraception
Modern contraception which is used correctly cannot damage your reproductive functions. Some forms of hormonal contraception even can prevent some disease – hormonal contraception seems to reduce the incidence of some sexually transmitted diseases and could protect from endometriosis, endometrial polyps and the formation of endometrial cancer.
Special attention should be paid to Sterilization – Vasectomy. If you are planning to become a father, better avoid sterilization. Although surgery to reverse this condition is possible, risks are involved that could affect fertility in other ways.
Infertility & Harmful Environmental Exposure
Some scientists already discovered that some environmental poisons can dramatically damage the reproductive system. Try to avoid environmental poisons and hazards such as pesticides, lead, heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and ionising radiation. Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals.
Infertility & Stress
How many time we are facing stress! – Love, danger, fear, abuse, exams, conflicts, work, personal relations, misunderstandings, fight, sadness, diseases, death, etc. Eating disorders, dieting, drug use, and reliance on stimulants like caffeine and alcohol are also interpreted by the body as kinds of stress.
When we are under stress, our adrenal glands are designed to produce the hormone called stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline) which have direct impact on the sex hormones (mainly estrogens and progesterone). Sex hormones are responsible for normal regular menstrual cycles.
It was hypothesized that women with higher stress levels would be more likely to experience abnormal cycles and that within women higher stress levels would positively relate to follicular phase length and inversely relate to luteal phase length. Many women have irregular periods after stress. So, if you have stress, better take care of it as soon as possible! – see stress management tools.
Infertility – Discover more about your genetic disorders in family
Sometimes infertility or infertility causes could be inherited. Check your family tree – if you know that your close relatives (parents, grandparents, sisters or sibling) had diseases such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), early menopause or hypothyroidism, you could be at increased risk for infertility. Discuss your fertility with your family doctor.
Infertility & Mumps virus vaccine
It is well known that mumps virus can affect sperm production. It would be wise to get vaccinated.
Infertility & Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious infection in the upper genital tract which called female reproductive organs (uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries). PID can be sexually transmitted or naturally occurring. In most cases PID is caused by a type of bacteria, often the same type that is responsible for several sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. In some cases, PID develops from bacteria that have traveled through the vagina and the cervix by way of an intrauterine device (IUD).
PID can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or the ovaries. It can lead to pelvic adhesions and scar tissue that develops between internal organs, causing ongoing pelvic pain and the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. PID could be a reason of infertility (untreated cases). In fact, PID is currently the leading cause of female infertility. If left untreated, PID can also lead to chronic infection. In addition, if PID is not diagnosed early enough, peritonitis and inflammation of the walls of the abdominal and pelvic cavity may develop.
Sexually active women between the ages of 20 and 31 are at the greatest risk of acquiring the PID through sexually transmitted bacteria. Women under 25 are more likely to develop PID than those older than 25. This is because the cervix of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured, increasing their susceptibility to the STDs that are linked to PID. Women who use intrauterine devices (IUDs) are at higher risk. Early treatment of PID is strongly recommended.
Infertility & High temperature for men
It is well known that high temperatures can affect sperm production and motility. Although this effect is usually temporary, better avoid hot tubs and steam baths.
Infertility, Medication and Drugs
Millions of people are using thousands of medication without knowing that some medications can reduce fertility. Limit medications – the use of drugs can decrease your chances of getting pregnant or keeping a pregnancy. Calcium channel blockers used for high blood pressure and medications used to treat arthritis may affect fertility potential. Cancer treatment (i.e., chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation treated) may result in sterility.
Avoid substance abuse! Nearly all forms of substance abuse can affect sperm production, egg release and embryo development. These substances include recreational drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.
Give up recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine as these have been linked to low sperm counts in men and infertility in women.
Infertility & Extreme Situations
If there is going to be a significant delay in reproduction or if you are at risk for loss of eggs or sperm (i.e., chemotherapy and/or surgery), the freezing of sperm and eggs should be considered. There may be some circumstances where it may be wise to consider freezing testicular and ovarian tissue, although these procedures are experimental.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer and hope to have children in the future, remember that it is possible to freeze sperm, eggs, ovarian and testicular tissue.
Infertility & General Advice
Avoid alcohol, tobacco and street drugs. These substances may impair your ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. Don’t drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. Avoid illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine.
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