In recent years, there has been drastic lifestyle changes among the young population. From smoking to excessive use of contraceptives, there is an unwavering increase in poor lifestyle choices, having adverse effects on all facets of health. The increase in lifestyle risk elements is found to be one of the major drivers for the high occurrence of infertility among Indian men and women.
The major lifestyle elements contributed to infertility are increased use of tobacco, high alcohol consumption, increasing regularity of contraceptive use, rising obesity, stress, late marriages, delay in family planning, etc. Apart from these, several medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, etc., also cause early onset of infertility. While clinical treatments can help overcome the medical elements, there is a serious need to create awareness on the lifestyle risk elements for infertility to avoid and combat difficulties in seeking early fertility care.
Let us have a look at how lifestyle factors impact fertility:
Tobacco usage: Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco may affect the process of sperm cell development. Tobacco use is also associated with lower sperm count and hormonal imbalance in men. Women who smoke frequently reach menopause early and thus increases female infertility.
Alcohol consumption: While the ill-effects of excessive alcohol are abundant, fertility in men is affected in terms of reduction of seminal quality, low levels of testosterone, decrease in semen volume and sperm count, etc. Chronic alcohol use disrupts hormonal balance in women, causing irregular ovulation or early menopause.
Use of contraceptives: Excessive use of contraceptives influences the potential of women’s fertility. Contraceptives cause hormonal imbalance in the body, causing a woman’s menstrual irregularity.
Abnormal weight: Having a body fat level that is 10-15% above normal can completely disturb the hormone balance of a reproductive cycle. Moreover, having a body fat level that is 10-15% below normal can completely shut down the working of the reproductive axis.
Environmental factors: Scientific evidence states that excessive exposure to high mental stress, high temperatures, chemicals, radiations, or heavy electromagnetic or microwave emissions may reduce fertility in both men and women.
Social risks: Delayed marriage and late conceiving in career-oriented women is associated with increased risks of non-fertilization, high chromosomal abnormalities, increased general health problems that interfere with fertility, and an increased risk of miscarriages.
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