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What are the risk factors for infertility in men?

Many things may cause decreased male fertility. Some risk factors for male fertility are:
  • smoking
  • drinking alcohol
  • using recreational drugs
  • being overweight
  • coming into contact with certain chemicals
  • overheating of the testicles
Some medical conditions, such as sickle cell disease, and certain medications can also decrease male fertility.
For men, a variety of risk factors can lead to infertility. Many researchers believe the causes of declining sperm count during this century are environmental, including pesticide and chemical exposure, drug use, radiation and pollution. Specific risks include:
  • exposure to toxic substances or hazards on the job, such as lead, cadmium, mercury, ethylene oxide, vinyl chloride, radioactivity and x-rays
  • cigarette or marijuana use
  • heavy alcohol consumption
  • prescription drugs for high blood pressure (calcium channel blockers), ulcers and psoriasis
  • chronic exposure of the genitals to elevated temperatures as may occur in some occupations (but not occasional visits to the sauna or hot tub)
  • medical conditions, including hernia repair, mumps after puberty, undescended testicles and history of prostatitis and genital infection
  • sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can lead to epididymitis (inflammation of the duct that carries sperm)
Ultimately, infertility can be a consequence of STDs. To decrease this risk, practice safe sex by using latex condoms. Also have any unusual symptoms checked out and treated early -- and make sure both partners are treated simultaneously. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.