Are Cellphone Harmful For Male Sexual Health?
Today cellphones have become an extremely important part of our lives; be it for communication, professional responsibilities or entertainment. In fact, according to a new study, most people have completely dumped their landlines. Based on the results of a new survey 60 – 65% adults (age range 25-34 years) exclusively rely on cellphones for communication.
Growing cellphone use is also associated with a number of health issues; especially sexual health deterioration and compromised male fertility. This is mainly because cellphones emit a special type of low level electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that has fairly high penetration potential when compared to traditional radiations. Many studies have been carried out to check the effect of these radiations on the sperm quality. For example, based on the results of a study conducted by a team of Chinese investigators at College of Preventive Medicine(2), radiations emitted from cellphones can reduce the motility of sperms by up to 8% and its viability up to 9%. Sperm count and quality also suffers a great deal in chronic cellphone users.
Pathophysiology Of Sperm Damage With Cellphone Use
Study reported in the Male Infertility (3) journal explained the complex pathophysiology of sperm damage in chronic cellphone users.
- Increased production of free radicals: Investigators suggested that the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species in all biological cells (including sperm cells) increases with the release of electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) in cellphones. In simple words, the metabolism of sperms suffers a great deal when these cells are exposed to radiations; thereby increasing the production of harmful toxic compounds that can lead to genetic mutations in the sperm DNA.
- DNA Fragmentation and cell death: Toxic compounds can also reduce the vitality and motility of spermatozoa and aggravates the risk of fragmentation of DNA (thereby leading to cell death). According to a study reported in the Male Infertility journal (3) scientists suggested that carrying cellphones for four hours or more per day in pant pockets can reduce sperm count by half.
- Damage to testicular barrier: Testicular tissue is very sensitive to heat, temperature dysregulation and radiations. Under normal circumstances, testicular tissue helps in protecting the sperms and has hundred times greater absorbance for EMR. But excessive and long term exposure to radiations may harm the protective capacity of testicular barrier; thereby exposing sensitive tissue to direct damage by radiations.
All these finding indicates that excessive use of cellphones and the decline in sperm count have a direct relationship and cellphones can greatly affect overall reproductive health in men.
Use Of Wi-Fi And Cancer
Smart phones and Wi-Fi comes side by side. When there is an extensive use of cellphones or smart phones there is also use of Wi-Fi. A research has shown that excessive use of Wi-Fi can cause cancer. Studies on animal at prenatal stage has shown that exposure to cellphone radiation can alter brain metabolism and DNA. It can also affect spinal cord and the learning abilities.
In order to protect reproductive organs and have healthy kids, experts recommend extreme caution and care:
- Keep a low power version of Wi-Fi and don’t leave it turned on for several hours.
- School gyms, classrooms and libraries should not have Wi-Fi.
- Don’t keep your cellphone near your body all the time, especially pregnant women.
- Use landlines as well.
- Cellphone should be used with caution in cars because inside vehicles signals bounce a lot and your head acts like an antenna.
- Use headphones or ear piece while using cellphones.
- Avoid installation of smart meters in your house.
- Wireless baby monitors work on frequency of microwave therefore its use should be avoided.
- Measure your RF exposures via RF meters.
1. Merhi, Z. O. (2012). Challenging cellphone impact on reproduction: a review. Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics, 29(4), 293-297.
2. Zhang, G., Yan, H., Chen, Q., Liu, K., Ling, X., Sun, L., … & Tan, L. (2016). Effects of cellphone use on semen parameters: Results from the MARHCS cohort study in Chongqing, China. Environment international, 91, 116-121.
3. McGill, J. J., & Agarwal, A. (2014). The impact of cellphone, laptop computer, and microwave oven usage on male fertility. In Male Infertility (pp. 161-177). Springer New York.