Take Care of the Boys
June is Men's Health month and you're trying to conceive. If you're a man, how do you take care of your part of things? Well, straight from Luke Jensusatis, who's now off to Medical School, a reminder of how to take care of the boys!
While many college students have finished their year or their college career or, I am reminded of my own wonderful memories of a trip to Panama City Beach and the iconic phrase “FOR THE BOYS!”
This applies to not just your friends, gym rat friends or Fraternity brothers, but for your sperm as well. Recently patients have begun to ask, “How do I protect my boys?” or “How can I better support my boys?”
Tips for Boosting Male Fertility & Sperm Count
Here are the do’s and don’ts for protecting and increasing your sperm count and boosting male fertility.
DO: Wear comfortable, loosely fitting underwear or boxers.
Personally, I prefer boxers, leaving Bert and Ernie to dangle freely as they were meant to. For those who have seen The League, remember the pseudo-mythological story of Dickarus and how man was not meant to fly too close to the sexual sun? The takeaway is we don’t want to cook our boys. The testicles were evolutionarily designed to be outside of the body for a purpose, mainly because the optimal temperature for sperm production is just below body temperature. Thus briefs, tight underwear or, in general, tight pants press the testes up towards the body and heat them leading to lower sperm production. It’s when the phrase “don’t get your panties in a bunch” applies to guys too.
DON’T: Go into Jacuzzis or saunas.
Who doesn’t want to feel relaxed and enjoy a nice soak once in a while? If you are trying to conceive though, lay off the hot tubs and steam rooms. Soft boiled eggs might be healthy to eat, but we don’t need two soft boiled eggs in your scrotal sack. So instead of heating up in a public soaking spot, ask your partner to heat things up in the bedroom instead and add a nice rub down while you’re at it.
DON’T: Leave your laptop on your lap.
How many times can I say this, DON’T FRY YOUR BOYS! Having your laptop on your lap while watching Netflix, writing a memo, or trolling the internet for something to tickle your testes is not good and can radiate some serious heat. Just look at all those electronic hover boards catching fire. Heat up your sex life, not your nuts.
DO: Go to the gym.
Increasing physical fitness can lead to increased testosterone levels. Testosterone is one of, if not the most, important of the male hormones. Natural testosterone is critical to sperm production and we want your body to have a large amount of it. So when you shape up, your sperm does too. (P.S.: Consider asking your doctor before a radical change in exercise.)
DON’T: Use and abuse steroids.
I say “natural” above because people can supplement their normal levels of testosterone with steroids, which is extremely BAD. Sure you might gain muscle, but you get a really bad case of acne, a massive temper and your grapes turn into raisins. This is because your body acts to produce a normal amount of testosterone and senses when it is high or low. If low, more testosterone is made. If high, like in the case of supplementing with steroids, the body will shut down normal testosterone production leading to decreased levels in the testes and reduced sperm production. If you are trying to conceive, this is a serious DON’T.
DO: Limit or kick the cannabis habit.
In one of the more recent studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology this past September, a study found that Danish men between the ages of 18–28 who smoked marijuana regularly (more than once a week) had roughly 30% less normal sperm concentration and for those who participated in additional recreational drug use (cocaine and ecstasy) had roughly 50% less than normal sperm concentration. While this could be from the drug use itself, or from acting like a mole emerging only to eat 7-Eleven pizza or Taco Bell, my advice is to steer clear. No sense in spending all this time, money and energy trying to get knocked up when you’re knocking yourself out.
If you’re not sure about whether a technique or ingredient can help or hurt while you’re trying to whip up the baby batter, ask us so we make sure you get an answer and help you understand why. Remember, it’s FOR THE BOYS!
Gundersen TD, Jorgensen N, Andersson AM et al. Association Between Use of Marijuana and Male Reproductive Hormones and Semen Quality: A Study Among 1,215 Healthy Young Me. Am. J. Epidemiol. 2015.
About Luke Jenusaitis
Luke works in the Andrology and Endocrinology lab at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT). He received his undergraduate degree in Biology and Near Eastern Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Originally from Branford, CT, Luke aspires to attend medical school and continue working in patient care. His experience includes working in the Autopsy Program of Pathology at Yale University. A recent contributor to PathtoFertility, he hopes to alleviate some of the tensions that arise from a misinterpreted social taboo.