Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
There are some questions about the relationship between high blood pressure medication and male fertility. For example, a study done by Dr. Buck Louis and his team in Michigan and Texas showed that 13% of men who worked in jobs that required physical exertion had low sperm counts. But there was no evidence that other work-related factors affected semen quality. High blood pressure caused a decrease in the proportion of sperm that were normally shaped. The study's limitations should not dissuade doctors from recommending this treatment for men with high blood pressure.
Relationship between high blood pressure medication and male fertility
Infertility may be a harbinger of somatic fitness. Men who take common blood pressure medications such as beta blockers and ACE Inhibitors have a significantly lower chance of conceiving a child. This could be because these drugs decrease semen volume, concentration, mobility, and heart activity. Other blood pressure medications can affect male fertility in a different way. In a recent study, Stanford University researchers examined health data from 800,000 men who were taking blood pressure medications.
There are several limitations to studies on this topic. Most of them were conducted on populations of men who had already been evaluated for infertility. Further, most of them were retrospective, thereby increasing the possibility of bias. This is a concern. Further research is needed to determine whether there is a direct relationship between hypertension and male fertility. If it is, this research would be particularly helpful to future patients suffering from hypertension and infertility.
Hypertension and sperm
Men who were previously diagnosed with high blood pressure were twice as likely to have low sperm count than men who were not on medications. The reason for the lower sperm count is unclear, but the underlying causes may be simple. Most medications lower sperm production or reduce their motility. This means fewer sperm are available to fertilize an egg. Additionally, reduced motility can make it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
While there are some cases of low birth weight associated with hypertension, the relationship is not completely clear. The study authors note that women with chronic high blood pressure before conception can experience poor egg quality. In addition, the sperm must swim up the fallopian tube to fertilize the egg. If the sperm cannot swim up the fallopian tube, the pregnancy will not occur. The result is infertility.
While blood pressure medication can provide temporary relief, the long-term solution is more crucial. Changing lifestyle habits and taking medication to treat hypertension can bring about the desired results over a long period of time. Lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising moderately, can help men who are diagnosed with high blood pressure. In addition to changing the diet and exercise regimes, men can also adopt stress reduction techniques and review their work activities to reduce physical activities that may damage the body.
While high blood pressure medications are commonly prescribed for hypertension, they may also affect male fertility. Among them, certain anti-hypertensive drugs and calcium channel blockers can decrease the sperm count and cause abnormal hormone levels. While these medications may decrease libido, other medicines may interfere with ejaculation, which are critical in the delivery of sperm.
Limitations of current studies examining male fertility and hypertension
While there are no reliable studies of the effectiveness of various medications for high blood pressure on fertility, the implication is that they may increase chances of conception. However, there are a number of "unproven" therapies that may help improve fertility and buy couples some time.
That said, exercise, plenty of sleep, avoiding illicit drugs and eating well can all help your reproductive health, and these should be made a priority.
Treatment options for men with high blood pressure
Hypertension and male infertility are not mutually exclusive. While male hypertension is a widespread disease affecting more than 30% of adult men in the USA, the relationship between hypertension and male infertility has received only limited attention. Hypertension and infertility are linked by vascular disease and age, so further research is needed to find a treatment strategy that minimizes the impact of both conditions on infertility.
While there is no direct link between high blood pressure and male infertility although varicocele can be caused by renal veinous hypertension, some medications may interfere with this process. Some medications, such as calcium channel blockers, can interfere with the pituitary gland's communication with the testicles. Some of these medications also decrease male sexual interest. Others can affect erection and ejaculate. It is important to discuss any potential medication changes with your physician.
In some cases, men with enlarged prostate may also have issues with fertility. A doctor may prescribe one of several medications known as alpha blockers. Alpha blockers can affect male fertility in various ways, but alfuzosin is the most common one. Alpha blockers can reduce ejaculation or prevent it altogether. Discuss this issue with your doctor to find the best treatment for your specific case.