The main function of the male reproductive system is to produce sperms and semen. During Sexual intercourse in humans the penis delivers sperms into the female vagina to fertilize an egg. In the journey towards the egg most of the sperms get destroyed or blocked at the vagina and cervix itself. The sperms that make it through to the egg, try to penetrate its outer shell. However only one sperm can enter the egg. When a sperm penetrates the egg, the egg produces a protein that blocks the other sperms from entering. It takes up to 24 hours for the genetic material in the sperm to combine with the genetic material in the egg and create a new cell that starts dividing rapidly. The zygote (fertilized egg) passes through the fallopian tube to the uterus and implants itself in the endometrium. The zygote then starts developing into a foetus.
Sex hormones also play an important role in the male and female reproductive systems. They not only promote development of sexual characteristics in men and women but also regulate and maintain the process of sperm production in men and also prepare the uterus for pregnancy in women.
Both the mother and the father have an equal role to play in the entire process of conceiving and pregnancy. Giving birth to a baby is one of the most beautiful and a naturally occurring process. However, if you consider the number of infertility cases and reproductive health problems in couples, these days, it does not seem to be so. There are many factors that cause hindrance or problems in the above mentioned process of reproduction, however, lifestyle is one of the major factors affecting the reproductive health of individuals. There is a deep connection between our lifestyle and reproductive health problems. No medicine can be as effective in helping you to conceive as bringing in some changes in your lifestyle. This applies to both men as well as women.
Some lifestyle factors that play a major role in causing reproductive health issues
- Smoking, alcohol addiction and substance abuse- Smoking, alcohol addiction and substance abuse are the major factors that contribute to reproductive health problems in men and women. Toxins from these substances interfere with hormone production in our bodies and thus adversely affect reproductive health.
- Eating disorders and weight issues- While a section of the society is addicted to junk food that has only calories and no nutrition, there is the other half that resorts to extreme measures and dieting to look super thin and cannot differentiate between a healthy and an anorexic frame. All these factors contribute to the growing reproductive health problems in society. Being very thin or very fat causes hormonal imbalance in our body, and hormonal imbalance causes reproductive health issues in both male as well as female. Most of the the reproductive health problems due to abnormal weight can be corrected by eating healthy and maintaining an ideal weight.
- Excessive Stress and related disorders- Stress, a by-product of modern day lifestyle is actually the biggest curse. It is one of the leading factors that causes major problems in a human body triggering neural and biochemical reactions, affecting regular body functions and causing hormonal imbalance.
- Disturbed sleep patterns and sleep deprivation- The work hard and party harder lifestyle has disturbed our body clocks and left us with very little time for adequate sleep. Insufficient sleep disturbs our body clock and thus causes hormonal imbalances. Several studies have been conducted and it has been established that lack of sleep or disturbed sleeping patterns can affect the reproductive health of men and women.