Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Sterile men may have higher risk of health problems

10 December 2015, 12:37

Infertile men may have a higher risk of developing other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and substance abuse disorders, compared with fertile men, a new study suggests.

Window into later health

"We found that infertile men developed several chronic diseases in the years following an infertility evaluation," said lead researcher Dr Michael Eisenberg, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford University Medical School, in Palo Alto, California.

"What's interesting is that these are young, healthy men," he said. "Prior studies suggested a higher risk of testicular cancer or even death. But for the first time, we are seeing higher risk of these metabolic diseases."

These findings suggest that infertility may provide a window into later health, Eisenberg added.

For the study, Eisenberg and colleagues collected data on more than 100,000 men from an insurance claims database between 2001 and 2009. Their average age was 33.

The researchers zeroed in on general health conditions of three groups of males: men diagnosed with infertility, men who didn't receive an infertility diagnosis and men who had had a vasectomy, who were presumed to be fertile.

No direct cause-and-effect relationship

The researchers found that infertile men had a 48 percent higher rate of heart disease and about 30 percent higher odds of diabetes, even after compensating for obesity and smoking. They also had higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse, the researchers said.

Moreover, those with the most severe form of infertility had the highest risk of kidney disease and alcohol abuse, Eisenberg said.

The study doesn't establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between infertility and chronic diseases, however.

But, the researchers speculated that hormonal and/or environmental factors may be involved.

Lower levels of testosterone in infertile men may be linked to higher rates of death and heart disease, they suggested.

Also, exposure to harmful environmental influences during foetal development might lead to both reproductive and general health problems later in life, Eisenberg said. Perhaps some of the same exposures that are related to heart disease later in life also reduce sperm count, he said.

"Thus, when a couple presents for infertility, there may be an opportunity to make a positive impact on a man's health through an evaluation of his fertility," Eisenberg said.

A warning sign

Dr Christine Mullin, director of in vitro fertilisation at the Centre for Human Reproduction at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, New York, said it does appear that men faced with infertility also face the potential for other health problems.

"The question really is which comes first, the heart disease or diabetes, or the infertility?" said Mullin, who wasn't involved with the research.

Infertility affects approximately 15 percent of couples, and male infertility is the cause in about half of all cases, Mullin said.

"Many men are seeing an infertility specialist as their first doctor in their adult lives," she said. "It is important that these doctors understand that the semen analysis is not only a screening tool to diagnose male infertility but also a means to uncover other health-related issues."

Infertility can be a warning sign of overall poor health in men, "and as reproductive specialists we need to act as first responders in helping men to achieve optimal health", Mullin said.

- Health24


Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...