Can Overheating of Testicles Lead to Infertility?
Male infertility affects approximately one in every seven couples. It can be due to low sperm production, blockages or abnormal sperm function. There are a number of reasons that lead to male infertility and overheating of the testicles is considered to be one of the factors.
Sperm production is highly sensitive to temperature changes and requires a temperature of 2-4 degrees lower than the body temperature, for sperm production. The placement of the testes in the scrotum, away from the internal heat of the body is due to the same reason.
There is also a network of pampiniform plexus of veins that run around the testes and back into the body. They divert the heat and prevent overheating. The testes are also protected by the cremaster muscle that contracts in cold situations causing the scrotum to be closer to the body and relaxes in hot situations causing the scrotum to hang free away from body heat.
Sperm cells tend to die when exposed to too much heat. Continuous exposure to higher temperatures can cause sperm production to be lower, or cause the production of abnormally shaped sperm cells resulting in infertility.
Sources of Heat
Overheating can be due to reasons that are internal such as in the case of a high fever. It can be also due to factors that are environmental or physiological. Activities such as cooking, grilling, motorcycling, sauna, and cycling can cause heat production. Usage of laptops and cellphones for long durations can also result in overheating. Physiological factors include Varicocele, late descended testicles and obesity.
Prevention of Overheating
Healthy sperm production after a heat exposure can take up to three months. Hence it is essential to prevent instances of overheating. Taking breaks, wearing loose fitting underclothes, maintaining a cooler body temperature during hot summers can prevent overheating and keep up the healthy sperm production. Hence Infertility due to overheating of testicles can be avoided if you take a bit of care.