Sperm health can depend on a number of factors, generally having to do with lifestyle and diet. Men who wear close-fitting undergarments or expose their testicles to heat, such as in a bath, may experience low sperm counts, since the testicles generally need to stay at a cooler temperature to function properly. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, drug abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases can all affect sperm health. Ejaculating too often, or not often enough, can also impact the health of sperm. Toxins in the environment, including radiation, mercury, and pesticides, can damage a man's sperm health, as can certain medications. Conversely, eating a healthy diet and using supplements such as selenium, folic acid, and zinc can improve the health of a man's sperm.
Most experts believe that if a man has a healthy reproductive tract and follows healthy lifestyle guidelines for diet and exercise, he will be very likely to enjoy healthy sperm. Low sperm count generally occurs when the testicles are kept too warm or heated too often, as they might be in a sauna or bath. Close-fitting undergarments and trousers are said to lower sperm count, since they can force the testicles closer to the body, keeping them too warm. Experts believe the testicles are located outside of the body because they need cooler temperatures to produce an optimal amount of healthy sperm. Doctors often advise men seeking to improve sperm health to wear loose-fitting trousers and undergarments that allow the testicles to move freely.
Medications, toxic chemicals in the environment, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco can all have an adverse effect on sperm count and sperm health. Doctors typically advise avoiding heavy alcohol consumption and refraining from drug or tobacco use. Prescription medications, especially chemotherapy drugs but also steroid medications and opioid pain relievers, can lower sperm count and damage the health of sperm. Experts have long suspected environmental radiation of damaging sperm health in those exposed to it. Chemical pesticides, phthalates, mercury, artificial estrogen, and polychlorinated biphenyls are all some of the environmental poisons that can be detrimental to the health of a man's sperm.
Some doctors even believe that ejaculating too often can lower sperm count and fertility. Experts recommend restricting ejaculation to once every two or three days to optimize the health of sperm. Men who are sexually abstinent may be well advised to masturbate as a replacement for intercourse. Many sexually transmitted diseases can damage the male reproductive tract, leading to decreased sperm health. Men can generally prevent such diseases by using latex condoms consistently during intercourse in non-monogamous circumstances.