How Lifestyle And Infertility Are Connected
When most people think of infertility, thoughts immediately form around underlying health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or an irregular period, which can make pinpointing ovulation difficult. But many people are surprised to find that some lifestyle habits can reduce fertility and make conception harder. For people who want to conceive, even in the future, checking the below list and making lifestyle adjustments can preserve fertility in both men and women.
1. Drop the butt
Medical associations have been telling people for decades that smoking is harmful. Smoking and tobacco use, in general, can put people at risk for cancer as well as heart, lung, and vascular diseases. But in both men and women, smoking can also cause infertility. Specifically, the chemicals in cigarettes can cause men to struggle with erectile dysfunction and low sperm quality, while women may lose eggs at a faster rate or experience more complications during pregnancy. If having a baby is a goal, make a plan now and work with a healthcare provider if necessary to quit the habit for good.
2. Too many cocktails
Most people are aware that drinking during pregnancy is bad. But drinking too much even when a person isn’t pregnant can increase the risk of infertility. In women, heavy drinking can decrease levels of critical hormones that trigger ovulation. In men, heavy drinking has been linked to poor sperm quality. People who are actively trying to conceive should try to avoid alcohol completely to increase the chances of successfully conceiving. And of course, during pregnancy, alcohol should be avoided as well.
3. Cut back on the caffeine
Caffeine is another stimulant that most people know should be consumed in moderation during pregnancy. But drunk in excess, the energy-boosting substance has been proven to impact fertility. Experts recommend that women trying to conceive limit caffeine intake to no more than 200mg a day, the equivalent of two 6- or 8-ounce cups of coffee.
4. Don’t be a gym rat
Staying in good physical shape and engaging in regular exercise is a great way to stay healthy. But working out too much can increase an individual’s risk of infertility. Specifically, excessive exercise can reduce progesterone levels, a key hormone for triggering ovulation. Experts recommend that, especially for women, vigorous workouts should be limited to no more than five hours a day.
Correct lifestyle habits now
Poor lifestyle habits have the potential to increase an individual’s risk of infertility. While much advice is directed at women, men are not immune from lifestyle-induced infertility. Any individual interested in having a child should re-evaluate current lifestyle choices and make corrections where possible to increase the chances of successfully conceiving. For more information about fertility and getting pregnant, speak with a healthcare provider.