In the last few decades, the incidence of infertility is rising. Changing times and complicated lifestyle patterns take a toll on the delicate human organs and their functioning.
Lifestyle & stress is emerging as one of the most important co factors for infertility.
Our lifestyle, our goals, our recreation patterns are diametrically opposite to our forefathers. Increasing age of marriage, career aspirations, postponing childbearing, nuclear families with freedom to eat out at will. (Fast food, junk food), stress, smoking, alcohol etc. have taken a toll on fertility.
Conditions like premature ovarian failure, infertility due to polycystic ovarian syndrome, age related disorders like endometriosis, fibroids and male infertility problems are all lifestyles and age related. It is not that these disorders were non existent previously and have suddenly cropped up their heads. It is just that our forefathers used to finish their childbearing before these disorders have set in.
Also a better and healthier lifestyle used to keep these disorders in check rather than worsen. E.g. PCOS is a genetic tendency. It can be controlled not cured by keeping your weight under check. Today’s lifestyle incorporates a lot of stress, irregular working hours, irregular sleep patterns and eating habits.
Therapy of many of the causes of infertility includes lifestyle management comprising of diet and exercise as well as addressing issues of stress management, alcohol consumption, smoking etc.
Lifestyle factors affecting Fertility:
- Obesity in male can lead to Erectile dysfunction and low sexual desire, diabetes , Impaired semen parameters.
- Obesity in a female Interferes with Ovulation, Affects efficiency and outcome of ART cycles and outcome of pregnancy
Recent research tells us that stress Contributes to infertility and treatment for infertility. A woman who is stressed may not conceive with ART treatment even when all the other factors are conducive to conception. Stress management should be an integral part of the management of infertility.
In a Male partner Smoking affects sperm production, motility, morphology & is associated with an increased risk of DNA damage to the sperm.
Female partner –Active as well as passive smoking hampers fertility and studies have shown that there is a higher rate of miscarriage in these women.
Excess consumption of Alcohol is known to be teratogenic and has been reported to reduce fertility.
So apart from the medical treatment of infertility stress management ,diet and exercise play a huge role in the management of sub fertile couples.