Sperm quality is something you might not think about until you’re trying for a baby. Yet it’s important to consider - even if you’re not currently trying to get pregnant - because certain habits can affect the health of your sperm over the course of a lifetime. If you’re worried about the quality of your sperm, or if you’re just curious, ExSeed offers a range of at-home test packages to give you plenty of details - including your semen volume, sperm concentration, and how well your sperm are swimming. In the meantime, here are some top tips for healthy sperm.
Keep Your Balls CoolWhen you’re cold, your scrotum will reflexively tighten to hold your testicles closer to the body, while when you’re warm, you might find that everything hangs a little looser. This is because sperm like to be kept 2–4 degrees cooler than core body temperature. Evidence suggests tight underwear hampers this natural movement and can impair sperm production and quality. That’s why we recommend wearing loose-fitting underwear and if you spend a lot of time sitting down, getting up regularly and moving around, allowing your scrotum to self-regulate its temperature. You should also avoid other sources of prolonged heat exposure to the scrotum, such as baths, hot tubs, or using a computer on your lap. For more information, read this article on testicle temperature.
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Get Regular STI Tests
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like chlamydia and gonorrhoea, can hinder sperm production and quality. If left untreated, these infections can also cause permanent damage to sperm production. But many STIs have no symptoms, so regular STI testing is routinely recommended. Remember that some STIs do not show up immediately after exposure, so keep window periods in mind and schedule a follow-up test if necessary.
Smoking is well known to reduce both male and female fertility. Smokers have been shown to have lower semen volumes and lower sperm numbers. Interestingly, these effects seem to be fully reversible if you stop smoking, with studies showing that just six months after quitting, ex-smokers no longer have reduced semen quality. So it’s never too late!
Moderate Your Alcohol
No, we’re not here to tell you that having a beer is all bad news. There is evidence that excessive alcohol consumption reduces sperm quality; however, there is no proven link between moderate alcohol intake and poor semen quality. But what is “moderate”? A moderate alcohol intake is defined as less than 14 units per week, spread out over at least three days. Drinking more than 6–8 drinks in one day is defined as “binge drinking”, which has been shown to be detrimental to sperm quality and overall health. So feel free to enjoy one or two drinks, but don’t overdo it; your semen will thank you! For more information about the effects of alcohol on male fertility, read ExSeed’s article, Alcohol and Sperm Quality.
Eat a Balanced Diet
We all know that we’re supposed to eat healthily and avoid fast food, but what aspects of your diet are most important to sperm? Sperm production requires hundreds of different vitamins and nutrients, including macronutrients (e.g. proteins, fats, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (e.g. calcium, selenium, zinc, L-carnitine, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K). Maintaining a balanced diet is the easiest way to ensure you get enough of these to maximise sperm quality. The NHS Eat Well guide contains simple tips on how to achieve this. A diet low in fruit and vegetables and high in saturated fatty acids, red or processed meat has been shown to have a negative impact on the quality of semen. Don’t worry about indulging in the occasional takeaway; the key is moderation and, of course, plenty of fruit and vegetables. Read more about Foods To Improve Your Fertility.
For more information, check out ExSeed’s lifestyle blogs, which offer practical tips to improve your fertility.
Small lifestyle changes can dramatically affect sperm quality, which means that improving the quality of your sperm can sometimes be just as simple. Finding out about your sperm quality is the perfect starting point for taking charge of your sperm health. ExSeed is a group of male reproductive health experts on a mission to address male infertility and offers a range of at-home test kits and plenty of factual information to empower men to take charge of their health. In addition, ExSeed offers an app-based lifestyle program for free to their customers, which offers expert recommendations specifically tailored to your test results and general health report, helping you understand which changes are most likely to improve your sperm health. Yoxly shares very similar values to ExSeed, focussing on demystifying and destigmatising all things sexual health. Check out our blog, where we address a whole range of topics, including fertility, STI testing and sexual wellness.