Can environmental factors affect male fertility?
Male fertility is a really complex process. Current studies suggest that infertility is not only a woman’s issue. In about 40 - 50% of infertile couples, the cause of infertility lies exclusively in the male factor and the most common cause of infertility seems to be the inability of the body to produce a sufficient number of healthy spermatozoa.
Current evidence suggests that sperm health, in addition to hormonal and anatomical conditions, may be affected by environmental factors and daily habits that were unexpected to have a negative effect on male fertility.
And how does the environment affect male fertility? Through the so-called "hormonal disruptors", i.e. those substances that are absorbed by a man's body and disrupt his endocrine system. In addition, many of the other functions of the human body can be affected, such as metabolism and mood.
Some of these substances are components of devices and objects that we use in our daily routine.
Indicatively, some of these substances are:
- Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in plastic water bottles, food containers, and cans
- Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is an insecticide that may be found in meat, fish, and dairy products
- Dioxins are one of the most widely used chemicals known to impair male reproductive health. They are found in many products, such as paper coffee filters, animal proteins, household cleaning products, personal care products (especially those containing triclosan, disposable towels, and paper towels)
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are chemicals that can be found in contaminated meat products, dairy products, and some fish
- Phthalates are a group of chemicals that can inhibit testosterone production as well as Leydig cell function, which affects spermatozoa production and sperm quality. They are often found in a variety of foods, personal care products such as lotions, perfumes, shaving foams, hair dyes, and household cleaners
- Phytoestrogens constitute plant substances that resemble human estrogen and they have been shown to reduce spermatozoa count. They are found in soybeans, flaxseed, sesame seeds, oats as well as in pesticides and industrial chemicals
- Atrazine is a herbicide found in corn, sugar cane, pineapple, and sorghum
- Mercury is found in seafood, mackerel, swordfish, and in other large fish
- Bisphenol S (BPS) replaces BPA which is equally dangerous and is found in plastic water bottles and food containers
At Diagnostiki Athinon we perform, with the proper sample, basic or comprehensive fertility tests for men, and with the help of the appropriate biochemical markers, we can determine the possible causes of male infertility.