Men's Health

4 Lifestyle Choices That Are Bad For Male Fertility

Put the hamburger down and drop some pounds.

Originally Published: 
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Most guys don’t think about their fertility until they’re ready to start a family. And that could mean several years of activities that aren’t necessarily conducive to reproductive health. Like, say, those gnarly crotch-shots you took when bailing out during a handrail grind back in your rollerblading days. So if you’re trying to make a baby but you’ve been having issues, it might be time to look at things that could put a hitch in your junk.

Oftentimes the life you choose to lead can leave your pants-factory in a bad way. Of all the issues affecting infertility, these are the ones that are “easiest” to solve. Though you may have to find a way to get that burger out of your hands. Here are 4 of the most common.


A Danish study looking at the sperm health of young men found a link to weight and sperm count. They found that those men with a Body Mass Index indicating they were overweight had a 22 percent decrease in sperm concentration and a 24 percent decrease in total sperm count.

The possible reason for this is that being overweight can affect men’s hormonal balance, throwing sperm production off. More than that, being overweight can make it difficult to achieve an erection or even want to have sex. So find your ideal BMI and more towards it.


A 2014 study in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that men who had experienced up to 2 stressful life events within a year had slower and more malformed sperm. Which really blows if you were rooting for the losing side of both the 2016 World Series and the recent Super Bowl.

The mechanisms for why this happens remain a mystery. However, researchers did suggest the sperm could be harmed by stress-related hormone changes, or an increase of stress-related free radicals that harm cells. The lesson here: relax, buddy.

Drugs And Alcohol

A host of addictive behaviors has been known to cause slow or malformed sperm. These include smoking, drug abuse, and alcohol use.

Alcohol use is particularly troublesome because not only can alcohol lead to erectile dysfunction (a.k.a. whiskey penis), it can also affect the quality of your semen and the production of sperm through abnormal hormone fluctuations. That means even if you’re a moderate drinker you’ll want to lay off the sauce while trying to conceive.

And, sadly, for dudes living in the half of America where marijuana is legal, there’s some bad news when it comes smoking ganja. Several studies have shown pot-smoking reduces sperm counts. One showed as much as a 29 percent reduction in men who smoked herb at least once a week; others found links to slower and damaged sperm.

As for hard drugs and cigarettes? You don’t need a low sperm count to let you know you should probably lay off, right?


Hot nuts is an issue that rests somewhere between a medical cause for sperm issues and lifestyle choice. There are some choices you make that could absolutely cause your junk to overheat. These include aggressive hot-tub and sauna use, or an insistence to wear jeans so tight that people can tell if your little gentleman wears a turtleneck. This is an easy fix. Stay out of the hot tub and dust off your JNCOs. After all, you don’t have to worry about impressing the ladies. You already have one that wants to make a baby with you.

If you’re facing any of these issues, it’s possible that making some positive changes could help your fertility rebound. But if it doesn’t, you may need to look to more serious medical issues that might be standing in the way. Because, face it, even though you’ve taken off the rollerblades and given up on that perfect deadfish grind, you never know what kind of damage you’ve done to the old baby maker.

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