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Testicular Heat Stress and Sperm Quality

  • Damayanthi Durairajanayagam
  • Rakesh K. Sharma
  • Stefan S. du Plessis
  • Ashok Agarwal
Chapter

Abstract

Testicular temperature is reflected by the temperature of the overlying scrotum. The scrotum is well placed anatomically and is capable of physiologically maintaining a hypothermic testis. However, when normal thermoregulation of the testis is impaired, heat stress can occur, negatively effecting semen quality and sperm concentration, motility, and morphology. A number of factors can disturb thermoregulation and increase testicular temperature including pathological conditions such as varicocele and cryptorchidism, posture, clothing, common lifestyle choices such as use of saunas and warm baths, certain exercises such as cycling, laptop usage and occupations that involve or generate heat, and raised ambient temperature. Often, these factors do not occur alone but in combination with one another, which compounds the negative effect of high testicular heat levels on semen parameters. This chapter discusses physiological thermoregulation in the testis, the impact of its failure on semen quality and enumerates factors that could simultaneously and cumulatively contribute to testicular heat stress. Awareness of the potential risks involved and methods to alleviate prolonged scrotal warming are important in the preservation of male fertility. Simple changes to daily habits could help lessen the impact of increased testicular temperatures on male fertility.

Keywords

Heat Stress Sperm Motility Sperm Count Core Body Temperature Heat Exposure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Damayanthi Durairajanayagam
    • 1
  • Rakesh K. Sharma
    • 1
  • Stefan S. du Plessis
    • 2
  • Ashok Agarwal
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Reproductive MedicineCleveland ClinicClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Division of Medical Physiology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesStellenbosch UniversityTygerbergSouth Africa

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