For many young men, Father's Day represents nothing more than the obligation to buy a card for dear old dad, or maybe, to attend a mandatory brunch before dashing off to pursue their own lives. While thoughts of potential fatherhood for themselves may be miles away, the choices that these young men make now can seriously impact upon their ability to become dads later on, when maturity and readiness finally present themselves.
Topping the list of negative choices that young men often make is steroid use. According to urologist Michael Werner, "The taking of anabolic steroids has reached almost epidemic proportions. Nearly seven percent of 12th grade boys use or have used steroids to build muscle mass and improve athletic performance. What they don't realize is that these synthetic male hormones suppress the testes' ability to make testosterone. This can cause severely diminished sperm production or even, a complete absence of sperm. And this may be irreversible".
Other sperm killing, negative lifestyle choices include the use of recreational drugs such as pot or cocaine, and heavy drinking. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ingesting more than two alcoholic beverages a day is considered excessive for men. These too may have a deleterious effect on sperm production.
Countless studies have substantiated the negative effect of smoking on both male and female fertility potential. While this may sound like a no brainer, CDC statistics show that approximately 3,600 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 years of age initiate cigarette smoking, and an estimated 1,100 young people become daily cigarette smokers.
Thinking twice before pouring on men's cologne might not be a bad idea either. "Certain human reproductive health problems are linked to synthetic or industrial chemical exposure in males. These problems include testicular dysgenesis snydrome, which has been linked to low sperm count. This condition is thought to arise from disrupted hormone signaling, due to industrial chemical exposure. Reducing exposure to environmental contaminants, such as phthalates, pesticides, bisphenol A and other chemicals helps to protect and preserve male fertility" according to Julia Varshavsky, of CHE (Collaborative on Health and the Environment).
And then there are those bike seats, and the heat that they can generate. Anything that raises the temperature of the scrotum can have an adverse effect on sperm production. "Though there are a lot of myths concerning men's fertility there are some things that guys should pay attention to" according to The American Fertility Association's Executive Director, Ken Mosesian. Says Mosesian, "Hot tubs or sauna use when trying to conceive is not the best strategy. Sitting with a laptop directly on your lap can also have negative effects, as can cycling with a bicycle seat that is too hard and too narrow, especially if it focuses the weight of the rider forward instead of towards the rear". Too tight undies, or those made of non breathable fabrics like silk can turn up the heat also and should be avoided.
While most types of male infertility cannot be prevented, establishing healthy habits can make a huge difference in young men's ability to become dads themselves. They may not know it now, but lots of guys are going to want to be on the receiving end of those sappy Father's Day cards someday. Teaching them the do's and don'ts about male infertility while they're still too young to care, might really make all the difference they will need in a few very short years.
Reprinted with permission from examiner.com