It is a known and observable fact that infertility is a prevailing concern in today’s modern world, amidst the rise of medical breakthroughs and scientific innovations. Hence, before reaching the point of having to get treatment for fertility problems, men and women of child-bearing age should be more vigilant and know how to prevent such predicament by incorporating some changes and adjustments to their lifestyle habits. As the cliché goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
It has long been established that certain lifestyle habits and constant exposure to harmful chemicals, specifically bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, contribute to reproductive problems. Therefore, it is very important to put some preventive measures in place before it’s too late.
Adapt Healthy Lifestyle Habits as First Step to Fertility Treatment
Living a healthy lifestyle definitely has positive effects on fertility, both for men and women. It would be truly beneficial if the following could be incorporated into your lifestyle, especially before and during the time when you are trying to conceive:
- Consult your fertility treatment questions with your practitioner. Make sure that any herbal remedies or medication (over-the-counter or prescribed) that you are taking have no adverse effect on fertility.
- Quit smoking. Smoking has been linked to an increase in miscarriage in women and low sperm count and motility in men.
- Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol increases the risk of miscarriage, disrupts hormone balance, reduces sperm count and can interfere with sexual performance.
- Say no to drugs like marijuana and cocaine which have been linked to infertility in women and low sperm count in men.
- Eat a balanced diet. Protein, carbohydrates and fiber should be in every meal. Women in their first three months of pregnancy should increase their intake of folic acid from green leafy vegetables, cereals and fruits.
- Exercise in moderation. Excessive exercise can affect sperm production in men (due to the heat build-up around the testicles), and can lead to menstrual disorders in women. Men should also avoid hot baths, spas, saunas and tight-fitting underwear. Overweight women should lose weight to increase their chances of becoming pregnant.
- Avoid environmental hazards and poisons such as toxic chemicals, heavy metals, lead, pesticides and radiation.
Minimize Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
With the advent of modern technology, it is inevitable that we will be exposed to chemicals no matter where we are. Unfortunately, these harmful chemicals (bisphenol A and phthalates in particular), are contained in the most common household items that we use almost every day. Taking note of the following measures can help bring our exposure to a minimal level:
- If possible, go organic (farm produce and free-range poultry/livestock) to reduce/avoid pesticides and fertilizers.
- Eat fish that is wild-caught and lab-tested as chemical-free, rather than farm-raised fish which are often contaminated with chemicals, or you may supplement with high-quality fish oil.
- Avoid processed and prepackaged food which contain unhealthy artificial food additives like MSG, food coloring and artificial sweeteners.
- Avoid canned foods (as their lining contains BPA), plastic wrap and plastic containers. Store your food and beverages in glass containers instead.
- Use glass or ceramic cookware instead of Teflon pots and pans.
- Have appropriate water filters on all faucets, especially if contaminants are found after tap water has been tested.
- Switch to natural brands of shampoo, deodorants, toothpaste and cosmetics. Phthalates are often found in synthetic fragrances of personal care products as well as in home cleaning products like air fresheners, fabric conditioners and dryer sheets.
- Use shower curtain made of fabric instead of plastic/vinyl.