Stress tips for fathers-to-be

As Father’s Day approaches (June 17, 2018), experts have a message for men who want to make sure their fertility is in good condition. And that message is to learn how to destress.

Researchers from the Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Centre in Israel have discovered that prolonged stress can have a negative impact on sperm quality.

Presented at the International Summit on Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, the study found that more than a third of sperm samples taken when the volunteers were going through a particularly stressful period had low motility. Motility means the ability to move efficiently, and poor sperm motility is a common cause of male fertility, as it means your sperm are less likely to fertilise an egg efficiently.

“Mental stress is known to have an adverse effect on fertility, but there is little research on the impact of stress on sperm quality,” says Dr. Eliahu Levitas, a member of the Ben-Gurion University Faculty of Health Sciences and director of the IVF Unit at Soroka. “This study shows that prolonged stress can have an effect on sperm quality.”

According to the Men’s Health Forum stress is what you feel when a situation is hard to handle. And too much stress can damage your immune system and heart, increase your chances of serious health problems, reduce life expectancy and damage your sex life.

Short-lived stress is normal. But when you’re under pressure a lot of the time, you may start feeling the effects of long-term stress. The Men’s Health Forum says there are lots of warning signs, including:

  • Eating more or less than normal
  • Mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling tense or anxious
  • Not sleeping properly (or wanting to sleep all the time)
  • Poor memory or forgetfulness
  • Excessive drinking and/or drug use.
  • Feeling really tired and lacking in energy
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Behaving out of character
  • Finding it hard to concentrate and struggling at work
  • Losing interest in things you usually enjoy
  • Having unusual experiences, like seeing or hearing things that others don’t.
  • There may be physical signs too like headaches, irritable bowel syndrome or aches and pains

Tackling stress

Since many of the things that can cause stress are often unavoidable – money problems, for instance, family difficulties or things not going well at work – it’s important to learn ways of managing stress better. According to the NHS, the following things may help:

  • Download a relaxation app on your smartphone
  • Try deep breathing exercises to feel calmer
  • Share your problems with family or friends
  • Make more time for your interests and hobbies
  • Eat as healthily as possible
  • Take regular exercise
  • Avoid unhealthy habits such as drinking too much and smoking
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep (read The A – Z of a good night’s sleep for more information)

Your local Careway pharmacist has lots more tips on managing stress, as well as getting a better night’s sleep. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.