If you want to start a family with your spouse or partner, nothing is more disappointing than finding out that reproduction - one of the most basic biological functions - can actually be challenging. Even in a country like India, where population control is a big concern, infertility rates are increasing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the estimated overall prevalence of infertility is between 3.9 to 16.8%.
A study published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology in 2013 indicates that lifestyle factors and habits play a key role in determining reproductive health and overall wellbeing for both men and women. The most important thing to note here is that these lifestyle habits that lead to infertility are under your control. Giving them up would improve your reproductive health and give you a better shot at conceiving.
The following are six unhealthy habits that couples who want to conceive should give up:
1. Smoking: Smoking or any form of tobacco consumption can take a huge toll on your reproductive health. In men, it can reduce your sperm quality and lead to hormonal imbalances. In women, smoking can damage eggs while they’re in the ovaries and increase the chances of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriages.
2. Alcohol consumption: While occasional drinking in moderation is unlikely to cause irreparable damage, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to unhealthy semen growth in men. Alcohol abuse in women often leads to abnormal menstrual cycles, ovulation disorders and increased oxidative stress - all of which can lead to infertility.
3. Lack of sleep: Poor sleep habits have been linked to infertility through many studies, albeit not directly. Lack of sufficient sleep causes weight gain and obesity and contributes to chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, etc which in turn increase the chances of infertility.
4. Excess caffeine consumption: A cup or two might not do much harm, but if your daily caffeine consumption regularly exceeds 400mg per day, it’s likely to not only increase infertility risks but also increase the chances of your experiencing a miscarriage.
5. Unsafe sex: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are the number one preventable cause of infertility. And guess which unhealthy habit multiplies the risk of getting an STD? Having unsafe sex. From pelvic inflammatory disease to blocked fallopian tubes, an STD can cause immense damage to your reproductive health, so better be safe than sorry.
6. Junk food consumption: Junk food, processed foods, fried foods, foods packed with sugar or salt - all of these can not only lead to obesity but also cause diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases that increase the chances of infertility. Opting for healthy foods and a balanced diet in the long term is, conversely, very good for your reproductive health.
For more information, read our article on Infertility: Causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.