Modern lifestyle is increasing infertility - Hindustan Times

Modern lifestyle is increasing infertility

ByHindustan Times
Dec 20, 2023 08:27 PM IST

This article is authored by Dr Rita Bakshi, senior gynaecologist & IVF expert, RiSAA IVF.

In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in infertility rates, sparking concerns among healthcare professionals and researchers. While various factors contribute to infertility, the modern lifestyle that many individuals lead has been identified as a significant contributor. This article explores the ways in which our contemporary way of life may be playing a role in the rising rates of infertility.

Reproductive health(Getty Images/iStockphoto) PREMIUM
Reproductive health(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The advent of technology has transformed the way we live, and one consequence is a more sedentary lifestyle. With the rise of desk jobs, increased screen time, and a decrease in physical activity, the sedentary nature of modern life has been linked to a decline in overall health, including reproductive health. Lack of regular exercise can lead to obesity, hormonal imbalances, and a disrupted menstrual cycle in women, all of which can contribute to fertility issues.

The fast-paced, demanding nature of modern life has led to increased stress levels for many individuals. Chronic stress has been associated with disruptions in the endocrine system, affecting the balance of reproductive hormones such as cortisol and progesterone. In women, stress may interfere with menstrual cycles and ovulation, while in men, it can impact sperm production and quality, ultimately contributing to infertility.

The exposure to various environmental pollutants and toxins has risen significantly in the modern era. Pesticides, industrial chemicals, and pollutants present in the air and water can negatively affect reproductive health. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been linked to hormonal imbalances, reduced fertility, and an increased risk of miscarriage. Individuals are constantly exposed to these substances through food, water, and everyday products, further complicating the fertility landscape.

Changing societal norms, career aspirations, and economic considerations have led many individuals and couples to delay starting a family. While advancements in reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), have provided options for later conception, age-related fertility decline remains a significant factor. Women experience a natural decline in fertility as they age, and delaying childbearing can result in increased difficulty conceiving.

Modern diets, often characterised by high levels of processed foods, refined sugars, and saturated fats, have been linked to obesity and metabolic disorders. These dietary choices can contribute to insulin resistance, which, in turn, affects reproductive hormones. Additionally, poor nutrition can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are crucial for reproductive health.

The modern lifestyle, with its technological advancements and societal changes, has undoubtedly brought about numerous benefits. However, it is essential to recognise and address the potential downsides, particularly when it comes to reproductive health. Understanding the impact of sedentary habits, chronic stress, environmental pollutants, delayed childbearing, and poor dietary choices on fertility allows individuals to make informed decisions about their lifestyles.

To mitigate the effects of modern life on fertility, it is crucial to prioritise overall health and well-being. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, incorporating regular physical activity, managing stress through mindfulness practices, and minimising exposure to environmental toxins. By adopting healthier lifestyle choices, individuals can take proactive steps to safeguard their reproductive health in the face of the challenges posed by the demands of the modern world.

This article is authored by Dr Rita Bakshi, senior gynaecologist & IVF expert, RiSAA IVF.

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