Male Fertility At Risk: Dangers Not To Be Underestimated

There are many substances that science defines as “endocrine disruptors”, that is, capable of interfering with the organism and modifying, in a more or less significant way, not only the fetal development but also the growth of the baby. 

Obviously the most exposed to risk are infants, children and young adolescents, to the extent  that some researchers say that infertility could find its origins in childhood, especially due to environmental pollution, which would correlate with the decrease in sperm count and some developmental anomalies of the male external genitalia.

The important thing, in any case, is to pay attention to the environment. Today, outside of the air we breathe indoors and outdoors, the attention of science also focuses on nutrition. Together with the foods we eat, we ingest without realizing it every year we ingest at least 250 grams of pesticides and microplastics, i.e. fragments of plastic dispersed in the environment.

There is also a seasoning of phthalates, chemicals that soften the plastic, which can be found in some food containers and migrate to the pot. Unfortunately, these are substances that in addition to having negative consequences on health in general can also harm male fertility.

The effects of taking these compounds range from a reduction in the number of spermatozoa to a decrease in their motility and ability to fertilize the oocyte. Phthalates, pesticides and phytoestrogens behave as endocrine disruptors: they mimic hormones such as the estrogens and androgens present in the body and in this way heavily influence hormonal balances.

In particular, phthalates such as bisphenol A are considered endocrine disruptors with an anti-androgenic action and andrologists suspect that they can cause damage to male fertility: they are found in polycarbonate plastics used for containers for food use or in the coating of cans. restrictions and bans on use have been imposed due to harmful health effects, for example in products intended for early childhood. Equally dangerous are pesticides, which are found in many foods.

The relationship between climate change and the reduction of spermatozoa is being examined by the experts. The continuous increase in temperature, in addition to smog, chemical contaminants and radiation, can put male reproductive capacity at risk. The increase of one degree of the ambient temperature increases the scrotal temperature by 0.1 degrees which can compromise fertility.

A check by the andrologist, especially when entering adulthood, can be useful to understand how to protect male sexual health from external threats. Many animal species are at risk of extinction, too, due to intense heat waves, which compromise the quality and motility of spermatozoa making the male sex infertile; the same could happen to man, whose genital system is much more sensitive to external temperature than that of women.

The increase in temperature damages the male reproductive system, much more than the female one: in some animal species an increase of a few degrees in external temperatures can halve

Even the exposure of males to heat during the developmental age compromises reproductive capacity once they become adults, in various animal species: the result is, again, a net drop in reproductive possibilities.

Man certainly has multiple protection systems for his reproductive system, but the suspicions of a decidedly negative effect of climate change on fertility are now almost a certainty even for our species. The increase of one degree of the ambient temperature increases the scrotal temperature by 0.1 degrees which can compromise fertility!