Lifestyle Factors Affecting Fertility

Lifestyle Factors Affecting Fertility

What is Meant by Fertility

Fertility refers to the reproductive health and ability of an individual or the couple to reproduce through normal sexual activity. As many as 90 percent of healthy, fertile women can conceive within one year when they have intercourse with the help of contraception. Normal fertility requires the production of enough healthy sperm by the male and viable eggs by the females.

The successful passage of the sperm through the open ducts from the male testes to the female fallopian tubes, penetration of the healthy egg and the implantation of the fertilised egg in the lining of the uterus. A problem with any of the steps can cause infertility.

How to Manage and Improve Your Reproductive Health

Improve Your Reproductive Health

Maintaining a healthy reproductive system is necessary to ensure one can always give birth to a healthy child and remain stress free from various health complications which may arise:

1. Start Taking Folic Acid:

800 mcg dose of vitamins is available in most over-the-counter prenatal vitamins. It not only helps in reducing the risk of having a child with a neural tube defect, but there is data that it may help with ovulation.

2. Pay Attention to Glycemic Index:

The Glycemic index is a mark of how much a carbohydrate makes the blood glucose spike. One can evaluate your favourite carbs by doing a Google image search for the glycemic index. You will see multiple examples of charts which rate the foods with respect to the glycemic index. One should avoid the foods which have a high glycemic index and replace them with the ones that have a lower glycemic index.

Depicting the amount of carbohydrates produced in the body, our glycemic index can evaluate the favourite carbs by doing a Google image search for the glycemic index. You will see multiple examples of charts that rate the foods by the glycemic index. One should avoid the foods which have a high glycemic index by checking foods in the pantry.

3. Revise Your Meat Index:

If you are a meat lover, try and cut down on processed meat, chicken, beef, pork and turkey and replace them with fish with high content of omega-3 fatty acids and vegetable proteins. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation. Further, women consuming more protein from vegetable sources may ovulate better than the women who get their proteins from meat. Vegetable proteins like soy/tofu, peas, beans (chickpeas, kidney beans, northern beans, etc.). Beans are great to cook up on the weekend into the stew or dish with brown rice.

Split your dish up into storage containers to take it on the go for lunch during the week.

4. Sleep Regularly

Having trouble sleeping at night? The simple tips will help you sleep better and be more energetic and productive during the day. Sleeping well has a direct impact on mental and physical health.

If you fall short of it, it can take a toll on daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. If you get a good night’s sleep, it may seem like an impossible goal when you are wide awake at 3am, but one has to have much more control over the quality of one’s sleep than you realise. Just as the way you feel during the waking hours often hinges on how well one can sleep at night. It is only natural that any difficulty in falling asleep can be directed to irregularities in your daily routine.

5. Exercise But Not Too Much:

Regular exercise is to the body as oxygen is to our existence. While we believe that working out may be good for us, excessive exercise can be counterproductive. How much should you work out depends on the many factors like – 

Age, health, and choice of workouts. Adults should get around five hours of moderate exercise of two and a half hours of more intense activity. Too many trips to the gym or weight lifting or cardio sessions could actually undo all the gains and goals you have been trying to achieve. Worse, they might even damage the heart, arteries and cause your brain to become addicted to exercise.

The adults should get around five hours of exercise weekly and two and a half hours of more intense activity. Some combination of the two will take care of the ideal amount and intensity of the exercise needed.

Role of Your Lifestyle in Managing Your Reproductive Health

Lifestyle in Managing Your Reproductive Health jpg

The following factors play a major role in affecting reproductive health:

1. Tobacco Usage:

Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco can affect spermatogenesis, which is the process of sperm cell development. Tobacco usage is linked to lower sperm count, altered motility as well as hormonal imbalance in men. Women who smoke are known to reach menopause early and it also increases the risk of female infertility.

Recent studies have found that passive smoking is likely to cause infertility. World Health Organisation (WHO) reported in 2015 that the prevalence of tobacco use in India is at 17% and India is known to have one of the highest prevalence of smokeless tobacco use.

2. Alcohol Consumption:

The ill effects of excessive alcohol are many. Fertility gets affected in terms of reduced seminal quality, low testosterone levels, decrease in semen volume and sperm count. The chronic alcohol consumption causes hormonal imbalance in women, causing irregular ovulation or early menopause. Even moderate alcohol intake can lead to impaired conception.

3. Use of Contraceptives

Prolonged use of oral contraception has a direct influence on the women’s fertility potential. Contraceptives can cause hormonal imbalance in the body, thereby causing irregularity in a woman’s menstrual cycles. Sometimes it is important to take several months before the ovulation becomes normal again.

According to expert studies, it is indicated that use of contraceptives in India has increased from 45% IN 1988 TO 59% IN 2015.

4. Weight Management

If a person has put on weight, it means it is a condition in which one has fat levels as 10-15% above the normal. It can completely derange the hormone balance of the reproductive cycle.

Underweight is a condition that helps the body fat level which is 10-15% below normal to completely shut down the reproductive axis and its working.

5. Environment Risks

There is scientific evidence which states that prolonged exposure to high mental stress, high temperatures, chemicals, radiations, and even heavy electromagnetic or microwave emissions can reduce fertility in both men and women.

6. Social Risks

Delayed marriage and late conceptions in career orientated women are responsible for increased risks of non-conceptions, high chromosomal abnormalities, increased general health problems which further interfere with fertility and an increased risk of miscarriages.

Healthy pregnancy becomes difficult by the age of 40 years and even more to less than 15%.

How Does Your Environment Affect Your Fertility

According to experts and medical research conducted across the globe, lifestyle factors have been known to drastically affect fertility – what you eat, how well you sleep, where you live and other behaviours. There are profound effects on health and diseases. Fertility is no exception.

Nutrition, weight, and exercise, physical and psychological stress, as well as environmental and occupational exposures, substance and drug use and abuse, along with medications, all have a lasting impact on fertility.

  • Obesity can result in lower sperm count and quality in men.
  • Among women who are obese and suffer from PCOS, losing 5% of body weight greatly improves the likelihood of ovulation and pregnancy.
  • If you are underweight, it is linked to ovarian dysfunction and causes infertility in women.
  • Strenuous exercise and physical activity along with taking multiple medications reduces sperm count in males. 
  • Excessive exercise is known to affect ovulation and fertility in women.
  • Research shows that using body-building medications or androgens can greatly affect sperm formation.
  • Substance use, including smoking tobacco, using other products of tobacco, marijuana use, heavy drinking as well as using illegal drugs such as heroin, and cocaine reduce fertility in both men and women.
  • High blood pressure changes the shape of the sperm, which in turn drastically affects fertility.
  • Radiation therapy or chemotherapy can cause infertility in females and males. If you have to undergo these types of treatments, one may want to consider fertility preservation.

At Vinsfertility, health experts are available to guide for the complete fertility process and treatments.

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