The Role of Lifestyle in Male Infertility: Diet, Physical Activity, and Body Habitus

Curr Urol Rep. 2018 May 17;19(7):56. doi: 10.1007/s11934-018-0805-0.


Purpose of review: Increasing attention to primary and secondary prevention of male infertility through modifiable lifestyle factors has gained traction amongst both patients and infertility specialists. In this review, the available evidence of modifiable lifestyle choices, specifically diet, physical activity, and body habitus, are evaluated.

Recent findings: Studies examining diet, exercise/physical activity, and body habitus are characterized by conflicting conclusions, difficult confounders, and imperfect end points to judge male reproductive potential. However, convincing trends have emerged implicating consumption of saturated fats, pesticide exposure, high intensity exercise, and extremes of body mass index as detrimental to male fertility. Data assessing modifiable risk factors and subfertility in male partners has emphasized the notion of moderation. Balancing dietary fat, moderation of physical activity, and the management of a healthy body habitus favor both improvement of semen quality and birth outcomes. These observations provide actionable data for the reproductive urologist to better counsel men presenting with infertility.

Keywords: Diet; Exercise; Lifestyle; Male infertility; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Infertility, Male / prevention & control*
  • Life Style*
  • Male