Monday, 15 June 2009
People who sit for long hours in office and those who travel long distances quite frequently are more susceptible to impotency
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Sedentary employees and frequent travellers beware! According to a research study by a team of city doctors, people who sit for long hours in office and those who travel long distances quite frequently are more susceptible to impotency or loss of sexual vigour than the people on the move.
The study conducted by the Assisted Conception Services Unit of Mahavir Hospital and Research Centre and the Institute of Genetics and Hospital for Genetic Diseases revealed that the sperm count had come down by about 45 per cent in sedentary employees (47.9 mill/ml) as compared with the control group (80.75 mill/ml). In case of frequent travellers the count recorded was 66.23 mill/ml.
The doctors took three groups of men for the study - a controlled group with just 0.5 hrs of mean seated hours in travel per day, people who travel for 4.25 hrs a day and sedentary employees with sit in offices for 7.9 hrs a day on an average. The normal morphology of semen was 57.25 per cent in the control group, 39.75 in long distance travellers and 38.67 in sedentary workers. The hypo-osmotic swelling test showed a percentage of 56, 54 and 50 in these groups respectively.
"Thermo-regulation in testis is important for normal development and maturation of spermatozoa. Semen is produced at a temperature lower than that of the normal body temperature. Even slight elevations in testicular temperature may have a profound impact on sperm quantity, quality and its fertilising potential. Those who remain seated for long hours have increased scrotal temperature and hence defect in semen quality", says fertility expert Roya Roazati who conducted the research study along with eminent geneticist PP Reddy and Rubina Mujtaba.
Frequent long distance travellers and sedentary workers showed significant impairment in spermatogenesis, percentage sperm motility and normal morphology, particularly sperm head morphology. The sperm quality of sedentary employees is worse than that of the long distance travellers as the former spend more hours in chairs. However, the impact of environmental pollution is more on travellers than on sedentary employees.
According to her, the increased testicular temperatures, a result of prolonged seating, may be a factor directly responsible for the deterioration of semen quality and consequently infertility.
Testis is more vulnerable to heat than any other part of the body. The importance of precise thermo-regulation of the testis is evidenced by the fact that even slight elevations in scrotal temperature are associatied with infertility.
"Long distance sedentary travellers, travelling for more than 200 km or more than three hours a day and sedentary workers spending more than six hours a day seated at work could be victims of impotency", the study pointed out.
The doctors took a detailed history of couples attending the Assisted Conception Services Unit and those couples with a male factor problem but normal female profile. Normospermic men with no evidence of male factor infertility, a non sedentary occupation and time lesser than one hour in travel were taken as controls. All men underwent a thorough clinical evaluation by an urologist to rule out any associated clinical pathology. In all 45 cases were studies and semen samples were analysed after a prescribed three day period of abstinence, for sperm count, motility, morphology, vitality, hypo-osmotic swelling test and the presence of immature germ cells as part of the investigation into their infertility.
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