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New protein that gives hope to infertility patients was found and the results were revealed last month. Now we get some more insight into how fertility is connected to stress through the results of a new study that links stress to male fertility. Apparently, stress can reduce sperm and semen quality in men.
While you might say that there is no news here, there haven’t been any conclusive studies, until now, that showed that stress can reduce sperm and semen quality. Stress has always been associated with a number of health problems, which include obesity, depression and heart disease. Now we know that stress affects the sperm and semen quality.
Stress Can Reduce Sperm and Semen Quality
Did you know that when it comes to infertile couples, in 40% of the cases, the male partner is the sole cause of infertility? Sperm abnormalities, such as misshaped and immobile sperm, low sperm production or ejaculatory problems aren’t the only things that cause infertility. Lifestyle is also a big factor that can influence fertility. For example, it has been known for decades that smoking can affect sperm motility and now stress is the next culprit for sperm and semen deterioration.
The study was led by scientists from the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York, NY and the Rutgers School of Public Health in Piscataway, NJ. The researchers conducted their study from 2005 and 2008 on 193 men with ages between 38 and 49. The levels of stress in their life were measured and the semen concentration and sperm shape and movement were also analyzed.
The researchers found that the men who experienced more stressful lives and life events had a lower percentage of sperm motility and sperm altogether. Men who didn’t experience stressful life events had healthier sperm and semen. Also, it was discovered that the men whose jobs stressed them had lower levels of testosterone in their semen.
But how does stress affect the sperm and semen quality? Well, the researchers couldn’t exactly tell how that happens, but they do propose a couple of theories. It is known that stress activates the release of some steroid hormones that affect the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbs. This can reduce testosterone levels and thus, sperm production.
Also, stress could cause oxidative stress, a type of physiological stress that is caused by free radicals. This type of stress has been linked to semen and sperm damage.