Our bodies evolved to be ‘in tune’ with their environment, but in recent times this synchronicity seems to have been impacted by multiple factors guiding our lifestyles. These factors are the modifiable habits and ways of life that can greatly influence overall health and well-being, including fertility.
The number of infertile people in the world today may be as high as 15%, particularly in industrialized nations. Decreasing the number of people affected by infertility has become a top priority for many health organizations. Lifestyle factors can be modified to enhance overall well-being and they are ultimately under one’s own control. They play a key role in determining reproductive health and can positively or negatively influence fertility.
Today, approximately 10 to 15% of couples are impacted by infertility. Many lifestyle factors such as the age at which to start a family, nutrition, weight, exercise, psychological stress, environmental and occupational exposures, and others can have substantial effects on fertility; lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, illicit drug use, alcohol and caffeine consumption can negatively influence fertility while others such as preventative care may be beneficial.
While lifestyle factors can be extremely disastrous for some, for the others its impact is temporary. The good news about lifestyle factors is that their effects are temporary and mostly reversible. Quit smoking now, and your hormone levels should regulate (though the damage to your eggs and ovarian reserve is unfortunately permanent). Get to a healthy weight and settle into a regular sleep pattern and your fertility should return to normal—there’s no evidence that these factors affect your fertility in the long term.
The lifestyle factors discussed here have the potential to impact fertility. It is important to understand the ways in which lifestyle behaviours may benefit or harm fertility in order to minimize complications and to maximize fertility outcomes. By understanding the impact of lifestyle on reproductive health, and by actively modifying lifestyle behaviours, men and women are capable of controlling their own fertility potential.
So ensure you work on your lifestyle issues now and live a life as healthy as possible. For it’s a healthy body which will have a healthy and happy mind.