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7 Overlooked Causes of Infertility in Men

7 Overlooked Causes of Infertility in Men

Did you know that approximately 16% (or 1 in 6) of couples in Canada experience infertility? This number has doubled since the 1980s.

Some people still think that infertility is purely a female issue; however, you can trace infertility to either the man or woman or a combination of both.

In fact, statistics show that three times out of 10, the cause is in men.

According to Canada’s Government, the 3 out of 4 causes of infertility in men include poor quality, low sperm count, and hormonal imbalances. But what is causing these changes?

Fortunately, scientific researchers have been begun to uncover previously overlooked causes of infertility in men.

Read on to learn about how diet and exposure to environmental toxins may be having a detrimental effect on sperm count, quality and hormonal imbalances.

Overlooked Causes of Infertility in Men

1. Soy

Soy or soya is a common ingredient in processed foods. Researchers have found an association between Soy intake male infertility in one human study.

In the human study published in the journal of human reproduction in 2008, researchers found that an association between higher intake of soy foods and lower sperm concentration.

2. Benzene

Benzene is a common industrial chemical made from crude oil that has been linked to leukemia and other blood disorders as well as causing infertility in male offspring.

In a study published in 2010, researchers concluded that Benzene appeared to increase the frequencies of aneuploid sperm for chromosomes associated with chromosomal abnormality syndromes in human offspring.

3. Plastics

Human exposure to plastics is widespread Researchers have found an association between BPA, altered hormonal levels and reduced sperm count in two human studies.

In a study published in 2010, researchers concluded that their results suggest that there may be an association between BPA and altered hormone levels in men.

In a later study published in 2015, researchers found a modest but significant association between serum BPA and sperm count.

3. Pesticides

Pesticides are pervasive in the modern world. You can find pesticides in our food, water and in our homes. Researchers have identified an association between pesticides, reduced sperm count and quality.

In a study published in 2015, the researchers concluded that there might be an association between exposure to pesticides, decreased sperm counts and motility and altered reproductive hormone levels in male partners of couples seeking infertility treatment.

In a later study published in 2017, the researchers found that exposure to pesticides may alter sperm structure and function, thus contributing to deteriorating human semen quality triggering infertility.

4. Lead

Lead can still be found in lead-based paint used in older homes, contaminated soil, household dust, drinking water pumped through leaded pipes, lead crystal, lead-glazed pottery, aeroplane fuel, some toys, and some inexpensive metal jewellery.

In a study published in 2007, the researchers found a link between lead and an increase in the concentration of immature sperm.

5. Triclosan

We use Triclosan widely in personal care, household, veterinary and industrial products.

In a study published in 2016, researchers found that Triclosan may affect human sperm production and normal morphology.

6. Phone and Wifi Radiation

Virtually every man I encounter has a mobile phone and usually carries it in their pants pocket. Radiation is not a good thing, so could close exposure to a mobile telephone hurt male fertility.

In a study published in 2014, researchers found a correlation between mobile phone radiation exposure and decreased sperm motility.

When you use a laptop computer, do you rest it on your lap? If you do, you may be having a damaging effect on the health of your sperm.

In a study published in 2011, researchers found that exposure of sperm to a wifi connected laptop decreased sperm motility.

What does this mean?

From the studies highlighted above, there does appear to be a definite association between soy, environmental toxins and decreased male fertility. An association does not mean a direct cause, but exposure to these toxins could be considered a definite risk factor. If you are a man experiencing fertility issues such as reduced sperm count and quality, then decreasing soy consumption and exposure to the above toxins would be advisable.


This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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