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Healthy Body - In Depth

Staying physically healthy can help you feel your best so that you can continue to do the things you enjoy in life. Your health today is also linked to your ability to have healthy children in the future. There are many factors that affect your fertility, either by decreasing your sperm count or by creating abnormal sperm. These factors can make it difficult to have children and can affect the health of your future children. Here are some tips to stay healthy and ensure a healthy start for your family.

Here are some tips for keeping your body strong and healthy:

  • Achieve a healthy weight by eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains and by exercising for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Visit your doctor once a year for health screenings and to treat medical conditions. Also learn about medications, sexually transmitted diseases, and vaccinations that can affect your health.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs. These can affect fertility.
  • Take care of your teeth and gums. Visit your dentist at least once a year.  

Achieve a healthy weight

Men who are overweight or obese have an increased risk for infertility. Being overweight can decrease your testosterone level and cause poor sperm quality, making it harder for your partner to get pregnant. The best way to control your weight is to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains and to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Click to learn more about a healthy diet and regular exercise.  

Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs

Using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs can cause these serious problems with your sperm and fertility:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco can decrease your sperm count and make sperm swim more slowly, making it harder to create a pregnancy. Tobacco can also make it more difficult to get an erection. 
  • Having more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day can decrease your sperm count and testosterone level and cause abnormal sperm. 
  • Marijuana can cause low sperm counts and decreased testosterone. 
  • Cocaine can decrease sperm counts and cause abnormal sperm. The effects of cocaine on sperm can last up to 2 years after you stop using. 
  • Steroids can cause abnormal sperm and decreases testosterone.   
  • Decreased testosterone from alcohol, marijuana, or steroids can lead to decreased sex drive, smaller testicles, and increased male breast tissue. 

You may know someone who used tobacco, alcohol, or drugs and still had a healthy child, but why take a chance with the health of your child? Click to find resources that can help you stop using tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.  

Visit your doctor

It is important to have yearly health screenings because medical conditions, such as diabetes, can cause decreased or abnormal sperm. Also talk to your doctor about any medicines or supplements you are taking. Certain medications can cause decreased or abnormal sperm. These include some medications for ulcers, high blood pressure, gout, cancer, and some antibiotics. If you are planning a pregnancy, talk to your doctor about any medical conditions that run in your family and ask about genetic counseling. It also important to be tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some STDs can affect your sperm and can be passed on to your partner, causing serious problems in pregnancy. Also ask your doctor about being up to date on your vaccines. Vaccines can prevent infections and protect you, your partner, and any future pregnancies.         

Take care of your teeth and gums

Visit your dentist at least once a year and brush and floss your teeth every day. Problems with your teeth and gums, such as infections, can cause long-term inflammation in your body. This can cause damage to your sperm. 

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