Summer is in full swing, and you’re probably soaking in as much fun in the sun as possible. This season is almost custom-made for guys. Nothing beats backyard grilling, relaxation on the sand, weekend motorcycle rides, and of course, steamy summer sex with your partner.
Unfortunately, summer isn’t all good vibes and high tides. Hate to rain on your barbecue, but when it comes to male fertility, your sperm can’t take the heat.
A study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that semen quality is much lower in the summer than in the winter and spring. And if you’re a guy dealing with male factor infertility, you might need to cool down when the temperature rises.
How Heat Hurts Male Fertility
Your sperm like it cool. They reside in the scrotum, where the temperature is 2-4 degrees cooler than the core body temperature. When it’s warm, the scrotum relaxes, and the testicles settle lower. When it’s cold, the scrotum contracts and the testicles move closer to the body.
If sperm are exposed to warmer temperatures for prolonged periods of time, it can hinder their quantity, quality, and motility. Sperm take about 70 days to mature, so if your sperm production takes a hit in the summer, it could be three months before you have a healthy batch again.
This doesn’t mean you have to stay locked indoors with the thermostat on 50 all season, but there are some summer activities you should avoid.
Skip the Hot Tub
You may have booked a nice romantic getaway with your wife and secured a suite with a spacious hot tub. But if you plan on getting her pregnant anytime soon, you may want to cool the jets on the Jacuzzi.
According to a study, men who subjected their testicles to prolonged immersion in hot water, such as hot tubs, had a decrease in sperm production, especially in sperm count and motility.
Avoid Exposure to Excessive Heat
Nothing’s better than a burger or steak fresh off the grill. While the weather’s nice, you get your money’s worth from your grill. But be careful about standing close to the coals for a long period of time. The heat can raise the temperature of your testicles since most grills sit about waist-high. That’s why chefs and guys who work in kitchens for a living are often at a greater risk for infertility.
The same goes for men who work outdoors. Being in the sun all day raises your overall body temperature, including your scrotum, which can temporarily drop sperm production.
Beware of Bikes
If you cycle, or just like to take a spin class at the gym, you may want to be more mindful of your activity. Sitting for a long time on a small seat can cause irritation and compression of your testicles. Though riding is a healthy activity, don’t overdo it, especially in summer temperatures.
So how do you protect your family jewels from the heat? Here are a few tips:
Whether you’re working outdoors, grilling at the family reunion, or sunbathing on the beach, make sure you take some breaks from the heat. Step inside of an air-conditioned building, step away from the grill or take a dip in the water to keep the body temperature—especially the temperature in the man zone—cool.
Wear Loose Clothing
You may think you look hot in that Baywatch speedo, but the snug fit around your scrotum heats up your sperm. Some studies show there’s no significant impact on sperm from tight clothing, but it is known to raise the scrotum temperature slightly, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Test Your Fertility
There’s no way to know if the heat is hurting your fertility unless you get it tested. Of course visiting the doctor’s office to provide a sperm sample isn’t on anyone’s summer to-do list, but you can still find out your fertility status. SpermCheck is an over-the-counter male fertility test you can use at home to quickly and easily find out your sperm count.
Summer is your season. You have big plans, so enjoy them. Just make sure you take the proper precautions to keep your swimmers strong.