Could semen point to a man’s overall health?
According to Reuters Health, a man’s overall health may be reflected in the quality of semen he produces. A new study finds that men with faulty semen also were far more likely to have a range of health problems, from heart disease to skin irritations. The finding, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, suggests that men who have fertility problems should have a broader check-up as well.
It’s not clear if some lifestyle or environmental factor might be hurting both a man’s overall health and his sperm products. But it’s very likely the problem is genetic, said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, an assistant professor of urology and director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford University, who led the study.
About 15 percent of all couples have fertility issues, and in half of those cases the male partner has semen deficiencies. We should be paying more attention to these millions of men. Infertility is a warning: Problems with reproduction may mean problems with overall health,” Eisenberg said in a statement.
Health worsens as men get older. “But here, we’re already spotting signs of trouble in young men in their 30s,” Eisenberg said.
According to reports, the team studied more than 9,000 men who gave several semen samples during treatment at fertility clinics. About half the men had something wrong with their sperm or semen. Most were young men, as they were starting families, most with no obvious health problems.
A man’s health is strongly correlated with his semen quality. Given the high incidence of infertility, we need to take a broader view. As we treat men’s infertility, we should also assess their overall health,” said Eisenberg.
However, Eisenberg pointed out that there are good odds that genes are involved.
At approximately 15 percent of the male human genome is involved in reproduction, it is conceivable that other health ailments may also be linked to defects in fertility,” he added.
That doesn’t necessarily mean an inherited problem, although it could. Smoking, excessive drinking and poor diet can also damage DNA. And some studies suggest men who don’t enough sleep can hurt their fertility while others link poor semen quality to exposure to some chemicals.