Fertility Paradox In Male Beauty Quest
31-years-old Mr TJ walked in for consultation alone that day. This is not common. Almost always couples attend clinic together. And this is what we highly recommend too so that both couples are engaged in the treatment.
He has been married for 2 years, and were contemplating pregnancy. After initial assessment and detailed medical history, Mr TJ showed his semen analysis report dated a week ago. Semen count is close to zero and so is the motility. I went ahead explaining reasons behind such findings which include genetic, infections, smoking, drinking, alcohol etc. At that point, Mr TJ revealed that he has been taking steroids for bulking muscles, which he didn’t realise is important medical history. That unravelled the puzzle. As much as steroids make the man look handsome, they reduce the chances of fathering a baby to close to zero. Fortunately, effects of steroids on the semen are reversible.
According to recent 2019 BBC News report, the famous scientist duo Dr. James Mossman and Prof Allan Pacey have brought to light a paradox that clearly states that men who take steroids to look more attractive often ruin their ability to have children. Named after the scientists who first described it, the Mossman-Pacey paradox uncovers the fact that although large and toned muscles make the men look way more appealing to the opposite sex, the process of acquiring these muscles makes them much less likely to be able to father an offspring.
Most men who religiously go to the gym and consume numerous health supplements and protein shakes with steroids mixed in it in large portions to fulfil their aspirations of bulging biceps and a masculine body, are often unaware of the unfavourable effects of the extra muscles on their fertility.
Recently in an Australian study, the strongest men rated as the most attractive by women, presented with poorest sperm mobility and morphology in the group. Thus, all men who had greater strength enjoyed the perks of premating sexual selection but had low sperm competitiveness!
Another collateral damage with steroidsto buff physique, is male baldness. And subsequently men end up using medication for baldness. The drug finasteride changes the way testosterone is metabolised in the body and can limit hair loss, but side effects include erectile dysfunction and a further hit chances of natural pregnancy.
Almost 90% of steroid users are likely to become sterile and most of them aren’t aware if this. With regular usage, steroids alter the male hormone levels, glands stop producing the most desired hormones FSH and LH, leading to impaired sperm production.
Thus, whether the steroids are consumed to aid in building muscles or preventing hair loss, their consumption has been proven to reduce sperm count as well as sperm quality in men, eventually leading to erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and unhealthy sperms.
It is truly ironic that a strong muscular body and perfectly styled hair may make a man look handsome and attractive but takes a toll on his fertility. Best advice is to indulge in physical activities and muscle focussed exercises.
After explaining all this, I’ve advised Mr TJ to stop steroids and also Finasteride until conception. Semen analysis repeated after 3 months showed normal results