Infertility: handle with care
Extract from the Sunday Telegraph:
"Roughly one third of infertility remains 'unexplained', a third is female-related - apart from the fact that women are trying for children later, sexually transmitted infections and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are on the rise - and the rest is male-related. Studies across Europe have recorded an alarming drop in sperm counts and a study not yet released has found the same here in Britain. 'Something has changed in the past 20 or 30 years,' says Allan Pacey, the secretary of the British Fertility Society. 'We don't know what it is, but we need to be very concerned.'
Many modern-day habits are known to play a part - drinking, smoking and overeating for example. What we don't know is whether there's something else going on - in the air we breathe, water we drink and food we eat. The thousands of invisible chemicals that have poured into our world since the Second World War to make life non-breakable, non-stick and flame-resistant are being linked to miscarriage, PCOS, endometriosis, and low sperm counts - as well as testicular cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Shanna Swan, an epidemiologist at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry in America, has spent the past 20 years studying environmental reproductive risks. 'There's no question now that chemical exposures impair fertility,' she says. 'We have 80,000 chemicals in circulation and when we look we see strong evidence that comes out constantly in scientific journals and in small conferences. Yet somehow we haven't reached the tipping point where people take notice. With global warming, it took 20 years. The American surgeon general said in 1964 that cigarettes caused cancer. How long did that take to get around? Maybe it takes a disaster - and I think impairing our ability to reproduce is potentially the most serious disaster there is.'
Two highly ubiquitous chemicals, phthalates (the 'ph' is silent) and bisphenol A, are the cause of most concern. Both chemicals are everywhere - tin cans, baby bottles, water bottles, CDs, plastic toys, the list is endless - and because of their 'leachy' nature (they're not very good at binding to their products) they are in us, too. In a study by Shanna Swan of mothers and babies, all the babies had measurable phthalate levels - and those exposed to the most baby-care products had the highest. Often described as 'endocrine disrupters', phthalates mimic the female hormone oestrogen, so could play havoc with hormones and reproductive systems - particularly in men.
'There's good evidence that sperm counts are falling and that something environmental is going on,' confirms Pacey. Male infertility is now the reason for half of British couples having IVF. While our grandfathers probably had a sperm count of about 120 million in one millilitre of seminal fluid, the average male sperm count now stands at about 60 million. (Anything less than 25/30 million is classified as infertile.) At the same time testicular cancer, which is linked to low sperm counts, is rising fast."
If obesity is the cause of your infertility then avoiding salt and salty food would help you. -Lose weight, reduce your risk of most cancers, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, vascular dementia, osteopenia, osteoporosis, hypercholesterolaemia, depression, liver and kidney problems, and improve your health in many other ways without drugs or expense by eating less salt! - Try it! - You will feel so much better!Obesity and the Salt Connection
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