All of us are aware of most of the ill effects of smoking on our health. But, what you might not know is that smoking does largely affect fertility. Along with various health issues that can occur due to prolonged or excessive smoking, fertility issues are also very common.

So, smoking might not just make you more prone to heart, lung, and vascular disease, but can result in infertility in the long run as well.

Let’s get a detailed insight into the adverse effects of smoking on male fertility:

  • Semen quality becomes poor

Semen plays a crucial role in male fertility. The seminal fluid protects and nourishes the sperms when they travel through the female reproductive tract. Cigarettes contain around 4000 toxic chemicals that significantly reduce the organic and inorganic molecules present in the seminal plasma. This leads to a reduced semen quality, which, in turn, lowers the survival chances of the sperm.

  • Reduction in the sperm count

The toxins and carcinogens present in cigarettes adversely affect the hormonal levels (FSH, testosterone, etc.). These hormones are essential for sperm production. As a result of hormonal imbalance, sperm production is impaired and sperm count decreases. Researches have revealed that smoking reduces sperm count by about 17.5 percent.

low sperm count in seminal fluid

  • Decreased sperm motility

Sperm motility plays a very important role in the fertilization process. The better the motility, the better are the chances of fertilization of the female egg. Smoking increases oxidative stress. This oxidative stress is often linked with negative effects on sperm motility. As a result, sperm motility is reduced and fertility issues arise. According to some studies, men who are smokers have a 16.6 percent lower sperm motility than non-smokers.

  • Fewer count of normal healthy sperms

Prolonged smoking affects the shape and size of the sperms. This results in a great fraction of abnormally shaped sperms (tapered-headed or curved tails). Such abnormalities in the sperm structure lower sperm motility and survival chances. Thus, it becomes difficult for the sperms to fertilize the egg.

  • DNA damage to sperms/ Abnormality in the sperm

As discussed earlier, smoking significantly increases oxidative stress. This means that smoking increases the amount of oxygen-containing free radicals. These free radicals damage sperm DNA. This causes increased DNA fragmentation in the sperm which is linked with fertility issues. There are high chances of miscarriages if such sperms fertilize the female egg.

  • Increased levels of cadmium and lead in the semen

Smokers are exposed to high amounts of cadmium and lead. Studies have found that heavy smokers have high levels of cadmium and lead in the semen. An increase in the cadmium and lead levels can majorly contribute to infertility in men.

  • Reduced zinc levels in the semen

Zinc is essential for male fertility, as it majorly contributes to sperm production. However, smoking is often strongly correlated with reduced zinc levels. This, in turn, affects the sperm count, quality, morphology, and sperm motility. Abnormality in sperm parameters is one of the main causes of infertility in males.

  • Frequent episodes of erectile dysfunction

Smoking hugely affects the reproductive health in both the genders. If you smoke regularly, you may notice the episodes of erectile dysfunction occurring frequently. Normally, a male gets a successful erection when the blood vessels in the penis dilate and completely fill with blood. Smoking damages the vascular system and hence impairs the blood flow to the penis. That is why the chances of erectile dysfunction increase largely. (Also Read: Home remedies for erectile dysfunction)

impotence in males

The harmful effects of smoking do not limit to yourself, but also affect the ones around you, the ones you care about. Let’s tell you how.

If you think that when you smoke, you do not harm anyone else, you are wrong. Passive smoking (Second-hand smoke) can affect your partner as well. Women whose partners are heavy smokers are more prone to fertility issues than other women. 

And it does not end here, smoking can adversely impact your offspring’s health as well. Smoking by the father at the time of conception increases the child’s risk of childhood leukemia. 

Also, your smoking can give rise to fertility issues in your child too. Studies show that men who were exposed to prenatal smoking had a 20 percent reduced sperm density than adult men who were not exposed to the smoke. A similar impact on fertility can be seen in the case of female children as well.

So if you are a smoker and you want your partner and future offspring to be healthy, quit smoking. Also, remember to quit smoking at least 3 months before trying to conceive, as this is the amount of time it takes for the sperms to mature. Doing so will improve the health of your sperms and their chances to fertilize the egg.

Tips to quit smoking a healthy way

  • Gradually decrease the number

If you try to quit smoking suddenly, it may backfire in the form of withdrawal symptoms such as headache, dizziness, shivering of hands, and legs. Thus, you got to slow but consistent in your efforts to quit smoking.

  • Nicotine replacement therapy

If your craving for “just one more drag of cigarette” feels overpowering at times, you can go for nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine gums and patches can enhance your chances of successfully quitting to smoke.

  • Ask for support and let people help you

There is no harm in asking for help from your near ones. You don’t have to deal with all the hiccups on your own. Share with your family and friends that you are trying to quit smoking. Their support and acknowledgment will boost your confidence to quit smoking. They will also remind you of your progress and consistent efforts to quit smoking. 

counseling for couples

  • Behavioral therapy

This type of cognitive therapy keeps your rational approach in place. It is very effective in reminding you of your needs and the strategies to quit. Only a few sessions can bring about wonderful healthy improvement.

  • Keep your mind and body active and engaged

When you indulge in healthy physical activities such as exercising, yoga, gymming it amazingly curbs the urge to smoke. Also, regular exercise releases endorphins that keep your mood uplifted and prevent stress.

Healthy habits to boost male fertility

  • You should increase the intake of foods and supplements rich in vitamins B, C, and E.
  • Have nuts, eggs, and high fiber diet amazingly boost male fertility
  • Have a glass of fresh pomegranate juice every day
  • Get proper sound sleep every night
  • Limit the consumption of alcohol
  • Make yoga an integral part of your daily fitness routine
    young happy couple-fertile couple

Take Away

Now that you know that you know that it is very much possible to quit smoking, make this decision for yourself today. On the other side of this ill-habit, there is good health and happy life awaits. 

So, feel free to get in touch with a doctor if you are facing any fertility issues due to smoking or any other reason. Medical consultation will help in finding the root cause of the problem and treat it effectively. You can book your online appointment with us at Pristyn Care for expert consultation

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