So let’s use World No Tobacco Day (May 31, 2022) as a launching pad to a brighter and less smokey future! World No Tobacco Day is dedicated to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. Infertility rates in both male & female smokers are about twice the rate of infertility found in the non-smokers.
Smoking & Male Fertility: Just the Facts
Can smoking hurt your sperm? Yes. It can also negatively affect male fertility.
Smoking is injurious to health. The caution you that may have come across ubiquitously in your day-to-day life. But still, it goes unheeded. Cigarette or tobacco smoking not only affect your lungs but also leads to the health of your kidneys, heart, & even sperms. Yeah, it can lead to male and female infertility. In this article, Dr. Himanshu Dhawan, Male Infertility Specialist, Dr. Health, sheds light on the effects of cigarette & tobacco smoking on Male Fertility.
There is no secret that smoking is damaging to our health. Most individuals are aware that it enhances the risk for heart, vascular, & lung diseases, though still, a major chunk doesn’t realize that the toxin contained in cigarettes or tobacco can also affect fertility in both men & women, leading to erectile dysfunction (ED), poor sperm quality, & pregnancy complications as well. Recent data shows that smoking habits might be responsible for fertility struggles in as many as 13% of couples.
For couples struggling with infertility - knowledge is power. To aid these couples to improve their chances of getting pregnant, fertility specialist Dr. Himanshu Dhawan, BAMS, explains how smoking impacts fertility for men.
Does Male Smoking Cause Male Infertility?
Cigarettes contain toxins that are often blamed for their bad effect on male health. Men who smoke are exposed to high levels of metals like cadmium & lead that have been linked to decreased fertility. Lead & cadmium levels have been found to significantly affect semen quality resulting in poor sperm concentration, shape, & movement.
However, you must know that smoking doesn’t stand to be the only cause of infertility in men. There can also be other causes of infertility, such as age, low sperm production, or abnormal sperm function.
Can Smoking Affect Sperms?
Smoking does not spare any organs or cells, & hence, it has a negative impact on sperm health due to smoking being unavoidable. Studies have shown a decrease in the quality of semen and a 23% decrease in sperm concentration in men who smoke as compared to a non-smoker. Smoking also impacts sperm motility which makes it difficult to fertilize eggs. And, if the egg is fertilized, the embryo might have fewer chances of survival due to harmful chemicals in the embryo & growing fetus. Smoking in men also enhances the risk of a non-viable pregnancy & hence it puts you at high risk of miscarriages.
Does Smoking Lead to DNA Damage in Sperm?
Some recent studies have found that the sperm of smokers has enhanced DNA fragmentation. The DNA-damaged sperm might lead to problems with embryo development, fertilization, embryo implantation, & increased miscarriage rates. Male smokers might also have abnormal hormone levels that can affect fertility.
Dr. Himanshu Dhawan also says, “Male smoking is related to decreased pregnancy rates & possibly increased miscarriage rates. Secondhand smoke can harm female partners’ fertility, as well. When he smokes, it not only decreases his sperm health. It also decreases her fertility.”
How Can Smoking Cause Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipe tobacco on the regular basis can damage your blood vessels, reducing arterial blood flow throughout the body. The key culprit is nicotine, which is an identified vasoconstrictor (a type of chemical which reduces blood flow throughout the body).
It can be extremely damaging to your sexual performance, as erections are reliant on the mix of signaling from your brain and a dependable level of blood supply via the arteries of men's penis. When you feel sexually aroused, your brain sends the signal to nerves in the men’s penis. This triggers the opening of arteries, increasing blood flow to the corpus cavernosum—the spongy tissue of the penis which fills & hardens to form the erection.
Reduced blood flow from smoking or other unhealthy habits can make it much more problematic to achieve the erection, leaving you with a weak erection or no physical response at all to sexual arousal. Scientific study shows that the severity of erectile dysfunction in smokers is closely linked to their level of exposure to cigarette or tobacco smoke. It also appears to show that quitting tobacco and cigarette smoking can help reduce & eliminate ED symptoms.
Add the fact that cigarette and tobacco smoking is linked to sperm damage & other fertility issues into the equation & it is clear that cigarettes are not really compatible with sexual & reproductive health.
With this information... Let’s all join together to motivate dedication BEFORE PLANNING FOR FATHERHOOD & SAY GOODBYE to tobacco smoking anytime soon... So that
"WE CAN MAKE EVERY DAY – WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY"
Author Name: KANIKA GIRDHAR