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The Prevention of Infertility

letto 5669 volte | autore: Claudio Manna, ginecologo specialista in fecondazione assistita (vai al curriculum)


The ideal strategy would be to prevent reproductive disorders.

Often this can be achieved by taking better care of ourselves. Regarding well known causes you can intervene in time by putting  a few simple rules into practice. Regarding unknown causes, however, which are many, it’s not quite as simple especially in men a lot of factors can operate silently and therefore go undisturbed.  The habit of periodic check-ups  of seminal liquid (once every three years) could be quite an  efficient preventative measure.  On the other hand it is necessary to pay attention to the woman’s age; you shouldn’t delay the time of conceiving a child too long because even the best therapy can, with advanced age, have little success.

What can a woman do for herself:

  • Avoid contracting genital infections by following good  personal hygiene practices
    (e.g. not using tampons), at the first sign of infection treat symptoms with antibiotics, even though these are often mild (pain in both the ovaries, accompanied by fever). Do not ignore vaginitis.  Do not overly stress yourself and recuperate your strength with plenty rest.
  • Keep track of your menstrual cycles and assess any variations: short cycles (periods less than 24 days) or long cycles (periods more than 35 days) these can indicate an absence of ovulation; in general this sort of infertility can be cured quite easily, but stress and fatigue can cause and worsen menstrual disturbances.  Competitive sport can also negatively influence menstrual cycles in the same way as excessive weight caused by eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia).
  • Avoid cigarette smoke, air pollution and ionizing radiation (excessive exposure to X-rays)  It would, therefore, be a good idea to stop smoking or at the very least reduce this habit.
  • Try to have children before age 35, an age after which fertility decline in women is great.  In particular it is necessary that the diagnosis and the major part of  the ideal treatment be carried out within two or maximum three years from the time in which you become aware that you have a problem.

What can a man do for himself:

  • Like the woman treat any infections of the genital tract (which often manifest themselves with few symptoms like burning urine and pain under the scrotum) these have to be treated immediately and well.  Late or incomplete treatment can cause grave damage to the production of spermatozoa.
  • Have a simple preventative check-up soon after puberty or, at least, during military conscription, to identify the possible presence of varicoceles which, being the most frequent and premature cause (generally asymptomatic) of infertility, should be diagnosed as soon as possible to prevent irreversible damage, in fact a simple operation ( which would be futile after age 30) or other therapies can resolve the problem before it is too late.
  • Access one’s lifestyle which plays a greater role in  men than in women.  “Heat” is the testicles greatest “enemy”.  In fact, these, are found in the scrotum because they have to be at a temperature inferior to that of the body.  High temperatures, like those produced by excessive proximity to heat sources, sitting for long periods and excessively tight clothing should be avoided: cigarette smoke, air pollution in big cities, close proximity to ionizing radiation or high radio frequency should be abolished or limited to the bare minimum.
  • Have an examination of the seminal liquid (spermiogram) at a young age.  Many studies sustain that in the last decade the average number of spermatozoa of  the westernized populations has diminished.  Often you find out that among  infertile couples the cause is the man’s, for causes that occur unbeknown to him for over 10 years and which an early examination of the seminal liquid could have prevented.

Disclaimer: the information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician.

giovedì 20 marzo 2008

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