International Men's Day 2022: Here's how diabetes can cause male infertility, low sperm quality
International Men's Day 2022: Untreated high blood sugar can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, heart and other organs as well as lead to fertility issues for both men and women. Here's how diabetes can induce male infertility can result in low sperm quality
Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to simply as diabetes, is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels. Normally, blood glucose levels are controlled by insulin as when the blood glucose rises, like after a meal, insulin is released to decrease this glucose level.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sneha Sathe, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility in Mumbai, revealed, “With diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin that is made. When there isn’t enough insulin or if the insulin is not utilized well, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Untreated high blood sugar can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, heart and other organs as well as lead to fertility issues for both men and women.”
Elaborating upon the same, she explained how diabetes can induce male infertility -
· Erectile dysfunction: This means the inability to maintain an erection. Erectile dysfunction is seen due to nerve damage and issues with blood circulation. It is more common in chronic diabetics and those with untreated diabetes.
· Retrograde ejaculation: This is when semen enters your urinary bladder rather than being ejaculated outside the body. This is not a worrisome health issue but will make it difficult to conceive without assisted reproductive technology (ART).
· Hypogonadism (low testosterone level): Leading to reduced sex drive.
· Delayed ejaculation: there can be a struggle to ejaculate due to nerve damage in diabetics
· Low sperm quality: Sperm motility is not typically affected by diabetes, but sperm quality (ie the ability of sperm to fertilize the egg) can be impaired. Diabetes and obesity often go hand-in-hand and obesity also plays a role in sperm quality.
· Fragmentation of sperm DNA: Oxidative stress caused due to high glucose levels damages the DNA of the sperm leading to reduced ability to fertilize an egg.
Dr Sneha Sathe advised, “Whether you are a man or woman with diabetes, when planning a baby and trying to conceive, it is imperative to speak with your physician or diabetologist and try and bring your sugars under control. While diabetes can drastically decrease your fertility, diabetic individuals are still able to conceive so long as the diabetes is well-controlled and a healthy body weight is maintained.”