Can air pollution affect fertility in men and women?

Can air pollution affect fertility in men and women?

Air pollution, which has once again engulfed the skies over Delhi with air quality reaching ‘severe’ levels across most of India’s national capital region, has been linked to a host of health problems. including shortness of breath, chronic bronchitis, chest tightness, lung and chest problems. infections, among others. But did you know that air pollution can also significantly affect fertility? “Although the main causal factor of infertility is the age of the woman, many studies have shown that daily exposure to high levels of pollution is also related to a decrease in potential fertility,” said Dr. Ratna Saxena, a specialist in IVF from Nova Southend IVF and Fertility, Bijwasan. , New Delhi, she said.

He added that deteriorating air quality has been associated with lower sexual desire. “Many couples trying to conceive are experiencing a drop in their sexual interest,” she told indianexpress.com.

Dr Shilpa Ellur, Senior Consultant, Reproductive Medicine, Milann Fertility Hospital, Whitefield, Bangalore, agreed, saying air pollution harms fertility and the birth process, as well as causing premature deaths. “Air pollution has been associated in numerous studies with infertility, difficult deliveries, increased birth defects in offspring, and stillbirths,” she added.

But why does it happen?

Dr. Saxena cited a 2018 study of 1,285 pregnant women in Chennai and its surrounding districts that found that every 10 g/m3 increase in PM 2.5 could result in a four-gram decrease in the baby’s birth weight. “Other research studies support the theory that inhaling poor-quality air increases the risk of other aspects of reproduction, such as preterm birth and low birth weight. Furthermore, perinatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and particulate matter (PM) have been shown to affect the neuropsychological development of children,” she added.

Experts said that air pollution can also have an impact on sperm quality. “According to a study by Hammoud et al, PM2.5 exposure was found to be negatively related to sperm morphology and motility,” said Dr. Saxena.

Ellur added that environmental pollutants release reactive oxygen species (ROS) that “can subject sperm to oxidative stress and lead to DNA fragmentation (DNA broken in the sperm head).” This, in turn, could lead to infertility problems.

Additionally, Dr. Saxena said that inhaling air that contains estrogenic and antiandrogenic substances, such as copper, zinc, and lead, can affect testosterone and sperm production if inhaled over a prolonged period. “Endocrine disruptors generate estrogenic, antiestrogenic, and antiandrogenic activity, interfering with the thyroid axis and influencing metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and obesity, both of which are strongly related to infertility,” he added.

So what can be done?

The expert suggested everyone monitor their sleep cycle. “Sleep is an important factor in fertility because it allows the body to regenerate many cells while regulating the rhythm of hormonal changes. Additionally, sleep produces dark melatonin, which can benefit the entire body system,” said Dr. Saxena.

He added that there are some lifestyle measures one can take to safeguard fertility. “To maintain good general health, exercise daily, avoid canned foods, eat a well-balanced diet, avoid substances such as alcohol or tobacco, discuss medication side effects with your doctor, and avoid endocrine disruptors,” he said. he said she.

However, if the problem persists, it is recommended to consult a fertility specialist.

Source: The Indian Express

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