In a nutshell
This study examined if sperm quality was associated with lifestyle characteristics influenced by men’s obese partners in couples experiencing infertility. The authors found that lifestyle was influenced by men’s partners and this altered some measurements of sperm quality.
Infertility affects many couples. Obesity is one factor that contributes to infertility. Obesity is associated with several lifestyle factors, such as smoking, poor diet, and little physical activity. Weight loss has been shown to improve fertility in women who are obese.
However, male fertility is also affected by obesity. Obesity affects the numbers and quality of sperm and increases the rate of erectile dysfunction. The impact of lifestyle on male infertility is not well understood. Whether male infertility is influenced by their partner’s obesity remains under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study evaluated the lifestyle habits of 97 couples experiencing infertility in which the woman was obese. The man’s sperm quality was assessed within one year of the study.
Overall, the weight and lifestyle characteristics of male participants were poorer than those of the general population. The average weight of male study participants was higher than the general population (95.9 kg vs. 82.7 kg). This was significantly related to the obesity of the men’s partners. The average body mass index (BMI) (30.8 kg/m2) was higher than the national average (26.5 kg/m2).
11.3% of male participants consumed 5 or more pieces of fruit or vegetables per day, compared to 32.6% of the general population. 30.9% of male participants reported being physically active, compared to 58.2% of the general population. Physical activity and consumption of fruit and vegetables were significantly related to the obesity of the men’s partners.
Some aspects of sperm quality were affected by lifestyle characteristics. The volume of ejaculate was higher in men who ate more fruit and vegetables and had overall healthy eating habits. The number and movement of sperm in ejaculate were reduced when weight and BMI increased. Sperm quality was also affected by sleep and was higher in men who slept more hours per night.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that in infertile couples, men’s lifestyles are impacted if their partner is obese, and this, in turn, affects sperm quality.
The fine print
This study had a small number of participants and did not collect sperm from men at the same time as evaluating their lifestyle characteristics. Participants in this study were also from Canada, so these results may not apply to all couples. More studies are needed to confirm these results.
Talk to your doctor about how weight loss may help symptoms of infertility.
Published By :
Obesity research & clinical practice
Apr 03, 2019