October 30th, 2015
Quality of life is an individual’s perceptions of their position in life in the context of their values and their culture, and also in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns. Studies have demonstrated that men struggling with infertility and infertility treatment are affected by increased strain and distress, which has a significant impact on their quality of life. This can also result in a vicious cycle, since life stress is associated with lower semen quality, including lower sperm motility and more abnormal sperm. Studies have shown that there was a reduction in sperm motility in men with two or more stressful life events during the previous year.
Poor health and lifestyle choices also impact quality of life. Lifestyle and habit can impact the quality of semen. When corrective actions are taken, both quality of life and fertility usually improve. Alcohol, tobacco, and obesity all result in impaired reproductive health. Alcohol is a psychological depressant and it also destroys tissue that produces sperm. Tobacco causes decreased sperm function and survival. Diet and nutrition have a significant impact on both quality of life and fertility. Exercise improves psychological function in men who are struggling with infertility. Exercise is effective in reduction of depression, anxiety, and problems with self-esteem that can add stress and impact fertility. Living a healthier lifestyle can improve reproductive function, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem.
Testosterone abnormalities are a primary cause of male infertility, and symptoms include fatigue, decreased sexual appetite, and poor concentration. Testosterone is responsible for a sense of well-being in men and replacement increases quality of life for men who are experiencing infertility as a result of testosterone abnormalities, in addition to increasing sperm production. Other health conditions, like hypertension, have a negative effect on sperm production, leading to a cycle of worsening reproductive health.
A significant factor in quality of life is sexual function. Sexual disorders may be a cause or a consequence of infertility and its treatment. Because couples that experience infertility associate sex with failure to conceive, they may avoid it when possible. These same emotions are associated with male sexual dysfunction, including diminished desire, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation. Over time, men who are infertile report less desire, worse sexual function, lower self esteem, higher anxiety, more relationship stress, and symptoms of poor health. Infertility mental health professionals can help address some of these issues. Medications are available to treat many problems of sexual dysfunction, particularly erectile dysfunction. Behavioral therapies are also useful in treatment.
Men who are experiencing infertility often report reduced satisfaction and increased stress that only contribute to the problem they are facing. A specialist in male infertility can help you determine what factors you can modify to meet your fertility goals and to improve your health and sense of well-being.