‘Unexplained infertility’ – A mysterious diagnosis which leaves you in the dark. And you never know, something as simple as turning off your electric blanket at night may do the trick for you. Lets have a look at why?
Testicles are located in the scrotum to be kept away from the body’s core temperature. The testes are on average 2 degrees Celsius (approx. 4 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than the rest of the body.When it gets too cold the scrotum will contract and pull them closer to the body. When it’s too hot they’ll hang down further away from the body. Quite clever!
Studies have shown that as little as 2-4 degrees increase in scrotal temperature can lead to sperm abnormalities such as the inability to swim and low sperm count.
When you think about it it’s not hard to raise temperature by 2-4 degrees. Here are some activities and places which will make it HOT:
1. Playing a sport
2. Driving a car over a long distance
3. Riding a push bike
4. Having a hot bath
6. Steam room
7. Overheating in bed (electric blanket, water bed heater)
Choosing cotton underwear may be of utmost importance. One study found that men who wore tight polyester underwear had no sperm production (azoospermia). The results were so consistent that the researchers considered proposing tight polyester underwear for men as a new form of male contraception!
The problem with synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester, lycra and many others is that they don’t allow enough air to circulate. The skin “can’t breathe” properly and this causes the underlying tissue to overheat.
Another factor to consider are tight fitting pants. They can not only lead to overheating but can also constrict circulation in the area. This especially applies to men with varicoceles and cryptorchidism in whom the temperature control of the area is already compromised by the condition.
What about the ladies?
Even though our ovaries are tucked inside and can withstand higher body temperatures than the testes, overheating may be a problem for the ladies too.
“The same mechanism that triggers miscarriage when a woman is sick with a fever could be triggered by other forms of excessive heat. Raising the internal body temperature with something like a hot tub, electric blanket or running a marathon is going to be counterproductive around day 21 of her cycle when she’s hoping for implantation,” explains Dr Metzger, reproductive endocrinologist, gynecologic surgeon and medical director of Helena Women’s Health in San Jose, California.
Remember, your #1 goal is to keep your eggs and sperm in the best possible shape before conception!