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16 Shocking Things That Can Cause Infertility

infertility1. Age

Surprisingly enough, you don’t have to be particularly old before your fertility begins to diminish. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women’s fertility declines gradually “but significantly” starting at about the age of 32, and then more rapidly from the age of 37.

Even men are not immune to the ravages of age. They should expect a deterioration in sperm quality and quantity starting at around the ages of 35 to 40.

Keep reading for more shocking things that cause infertility… but don’t rely on any of them as a method of birth control — that would be risky in the extreme!

2. Hot Tubs

It’s true — hot tubs can lower your sperm count. The effects can last for a few months — but probably not permanently. And pregnant women should also avoid hot tubs — their heat ups the chances of birth defects and miscarriages.

3. Laptops

Could a laptop affect your fertility? Maybe, if you’re a guy! That’s because of a couple of reasons. Firstly, sperm are vulnerable to increases in temperature, and laptops are a source of heat. And secondly, there’s a possibility that using Wi-Fi on a laptop might cause sperm damage. This isn’t proven — but if you’re at all concerned, go ahead and keep your laptop off your lap!

 4. Shampoo

Your shampoo could be making you infertile. A February 2014 study published in Fertility and Sterility found women whose male partners had high levels of phthalates took longer to become pregnant. Couples where the man had high levels of 3 common phthalates took 20% longer to get pregnant. Unfortunately, phthalates are everywhere! Common sources include:
  • Shampoos
  • Body washes
  • Perfume
  • Deodorant
  • Hair spray
  • Shaving cream
  • Nail Polish
  • Food packaging
  • Plastics

5. Being Underweight

An obsession with being thin could be more than unhealthy — it may also impact your fertility. According to one study of women undergoing IVF treatment, “being skinny may be worse for fertility than being fat.” Women who want to get pregnant were advised to get as close to their ideal weight as possible — avoiding being either over or underweight.

 6. Being Overweight

Being overweight is not just bad for your general health — it can also reduce your fertility, by:
  • In men — reducing sperm quantity and quality
  • In women — increasing estrogen production — which has a similar effect to being on birth control

7. Smoking

Here’s another reason to quit smoking cigarettes. It can make you infertile.
  • In Women — Smoking may accelerate egg loss, cause early menopause, reduce estrogen production, and increase the risk of miscarriage
  • In Men — Smoking reduces sperm count, and increases sperm abnormalities

And smoking marijuana may not be much better. According to one study, “the sperm for marijuana smokers were moving too fast too early” resulting in burn-out before the sperm were able to reach an egg.

 8. Stress

Stressed out? Here’s another reason to try to unwind — too much stress could cause infertility. Researchers in one study found that high levels of stress doubled the chances of women failing to get pregnant within one year of trying. Stress may also zap men’s sperm counts. Chill out with stress busters like exercise, yoga, meditation, or whatever works for you!

9. Drinking

Cut back on the booze if you want to maintain your peak fertility. Heavy drinking is associated with decreased fertility in both men and women.
  • In men — Excess alcohol lowers testosterone, sperm numbers, and sperm quality — not to mention libido
  • In women — Even light drinking can reduce fertility, with heavy drinking having more of an impact

10. Strenuous Exercise

While moderate exercise may improve your fertility — especially if you are overweight or obese — too much exercise lowers fertility in women of normal weight. In one study, strenuous exercise — like running, fast cycling, gymnastics, or swimming more than 5 hours a week — made it harder for women to conceive. Such vigorous exercise could potentially:

  • Disrupt your monthly cycle — leading to a lack of ovulation and menstruation
  • Disturb implantation of a fertilized egg

In men, excessive exercise might lower sperm counts by reducing testosterone levels.
Exercise is still important — just do it in moderation!

11. Injury

Did you know that the average man makes approximately 1,000 sperm every heartbeat? Crazy! But there are many things that can interfere with those sperm, and groin injuries are one of them. Wear a cup to play sports to prevent trauma to the testes — which could result in rupture of the sperm ducts. Ouch!

12. Soy

Could eating too much soy be bad for your fertility? Maybe! Some studies suggest that eating large amounts of soy might result in premature puberty and reduced fertility in women. Others suggest a high soy intake may lower sperm counts. The trouble is that there are conflicting studies, and disputed findings. Some experts say it’s probably fine to eat soy in moderation.

13. Receipts

Even if you’ve gone ahead and got yourself a BPA free water bottle you’re probably still being exposed to this chemical one way or another. And that’s not good news for your fertility. BPA has been linked to infertility, sperm damage, miscarriage, heart disease, obesity, and more.

One surprising source — BPA-coated receipts, which can transfer the chemical from the paper to your skin in just seconds. From there it can be absorbed into your body through your skin, or passed from your hands to your mouth. What you can do — say no to the receipt, or wash your hands after receiving one.

Other sources of BPA:

  • Canned foods
  • Microwaving plastic containers
  • Water from plastic bottles left in the car

14. Contaminated Fish

Fish can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet — but not if it’s contaminated with environmental toxins! One group of toxins are PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls). They are long since banned, but their effects linger in contaminated fish. Unfortunately, eating affected fish — usually larger predator fish high up the food chain, and bottom-feeders — can lower sperm count and quality. Female fertility is also affected.

15. STDs

Aside from being extremely annoying and uncomfortable, catching an STD could make you infertile. Always practice safe sex! According to the CDC, chlamydia and gonorrhea are preventable causes of infertility. Up to 10-15% of women who have chlamydia end up developing PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). PID often has no symptoms — but can result in permanent damage to the reproductive tract. The CDC is recommending annual chlamydia screening for at-risk women — including all sexually active women who are 25 or younger.

16. Burpees

Burpees are a great way to start out any at home work out. They get your heart rate up and ensure a higher calorie burn for much of the anaerobic exercise you’ll be getting. Start out squatted on the floor with your hands flat in front of you then rocket your legs out into a push up position as fast as you can. Then quickly return to a squat position and jump into the air and reach for the sky as fast as you can then repeat.

 Source: Fitness Frenzie

Further References: American Society for Reproductive Medicine | BBC News | BBC News | CDC | CNN.com | drinkaware.co.uk | The Guardian

Huffington Post | Huffington Post | Huffington Post | LiveScience | Mail Online | Mercola.com | New Scientist | Reuters | Rodale News

TIME.com | WSJ.com

Image Credit: kimgraypetite.com | rodalenews.com

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About Peace

Peace is a wife and mother who reports and analyses global trends from the perspective of a Deeva; in the hope of invoking a thought process that will lead to a positive change.

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