Hot puts male fertility at risk, expert advice

University of Padua study has shown that a gene activated by a rise in temperature alters sperm production

The Excessive heat puts male fertility at risk. This is what emerges from a study by the University of Padua, which showed how a gene activated by the rise in temperature alters the production of spermatozoa until it determines the development of testicular cancer. The research – coordinated by Carlo Foresta, former full professor and senior researcher at the Padua university, in collaboration with Alberto Ferlin, director of the complex operative unit of andrology and reproductive medicine in Padua – will be presented at a conference in October. But in the meantime they arrive from the Forest Foundation 5 ‘masculine’ tips to counteract the effects of heat.

In fact, researchers from the University of Padua have shown that the E2F1 gene, responsible for the regulation of cell division, is strongly involved in the production of spermatozoa and that the constitutive alterations of this gene lead to a greater predisposition to infertility, to abnormal descent. of the testis at birth (cryptorchidism) and testicular cancer. The experimental study has shown that the expression of this gene is strongly activated by the increase in temperature.

The testicles – remember a note – are located in the scrotum, which has an average temperature 2 degrees Celsius lower than the rest of the body. And the production of sperm decreases as the temperature rises, so much so that it was shown that in 2015 in the United States, following a heat wave, there was a decrease in births of 2.6% (107,000 fewer children). Already 27 degrees of average temperature in 24 hours can cause damage to sperm production. The normal functioning of the testicle and the mechanisms that regulate the production of spermatozoa are therefore highly sensitive to increases in temperature and male infertility is frequently encountered in situations that cause the temperature of the testicles to rise. It has in fact been found in those suffering from varicocele, obesity, or in those who are forced during work to exposure to heat sources or even in saunas.

“In periods of great heat such as those we are experiencing these days, the topic therefore returns to the fore and for this reason we would like to launch a handbook or suggestions to men who are trying to have children in this period”, explains Carlo Foresta. ” It is a small handbook with behavioral suggestions to avoid running into problems. Because – he underlines – let’s not forget that the results of our research also lead us to hypothesize that the increase in testicular cancer and the increasingly evident reduction of spermatozoa in men may also be associated with an increase in temperature, including the environmental one, which could act by stimulating the expression of this gene “.

The vademecum to protect yourself

Here, then, is the advice of the Forest Foundation, for these days of great heat for men, but which may also be of interest to those who work near the fire, such as cooks or those who work in the factory near heat sources: do washing of the gonads with fresh water; use undergarments made of natural fibers that allow heat to transpire; reduce or even better eliminate alcohol and smoking, which are known to change body temperature; maintain constant hydration and reduce body temperature by stopping in cool areas or using cold showers during the day.