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You are listening to Who Cares About Men's Health?:

8: Solving Infertility Issues

Jul 16, 2019

Tai Chi is stressing Scot out. Troy finds out volunteering is good for your health. Screen time is not just hard on your eyes. ER or Not - you got burned. Dr. Alex Pastuszak talks fertility and what you can try before you go to the doctor.

Episode Transcript

This content was originally created for audio. Some elements such as tone, sound effects, and music can be hard to translate to text. As such, the following is a summary of the episode and has been edited for clarity. For the full experience, we encourage you to subscribe and listen— it's more fun that way.

Dr. Pastuszak's Turning Point

Dr. Pastuszak began caring about his health around age twelve. He lived a sedentary life during his childhood in New York City. He weighed almost 200 pounds.

He says New York was a brutal place to grow up, and the other kids teased and verbally abused him about his weight. He took that teasing and turned it into a positive driving force to improve himself.

He changed his diet and started working out. He dropped 65 pounds within the first year. It was the start of caring about his own health, but he still loves the occasional cheat day.

What to Do Before Seeing a Doctor About Fertility

Infertility is ultimately a couples' issue. Half of the time, the inability to conceive is caused by something in both partners. If you and your partner are having difficulty getting pregnant, here's a few things to consider before seeking professional help:

  • You should try for a full year before seeking help. Infertility is defined by a couple having unprotected sex for a year or more without success.


  • Stop using lubricants. A majority of popular lubricants are actually spermatotoxic, meaning they kill sperm. Many brands do not advertise whether or not they harm sperm, so it's best to avoid them all together.


  • Know when the woman is ovulating. There are plenty of at home tests, calculators, and apps to let you know when a woman is ovulating. She is most likely to become pregnant between 24-72 hours after ovulation.


  • Clean up your lifestyle. A bad diet, smoking, and too much alcohol can all harm your sperm. Take this time to improve your own health to improve your chances of conception.


Fertility vs Infertility is Nuanced

If you've followed the steps above for over a year and still have not conceived, it may be time to start looking into medical help.

As a man, you may be tempted to try an at home test for fertility, but Dr. Pastuszak warns that these tests are ultimately ineffective.

"Fertility is nuanced," says Dr. Pastuszak. While the test may tell you how many sperm you have, it doesn't look at any of the many other factors that can lead to male infertility. For your best chance of conception, it's best to go to a fertility specialist.

Dr. Pastuszak suggests both partners go to see a specialist when diagnosing fertility issues. Women should see an OB/GYN specializing in fertility. Men should see a urologist, preferably one with additional fertility training.

Most advanced fertility treatments in the U.S. are not covered by insurance. While certain workplaces do offer fertility insurance, it is uncommon. Be sure to check with your provider about what fertility benefits they cover and the options available to you.

ER or Not: I've Burned Myself

Perhaps you didn't let go of a firework in time. Maybe you sprayed a little too much lighter fluid on that grill. Maybe you mixed too much alcohol with a campfire. Burns can be serious, but when should you go to the emergency room?

According to Dr. Madsen, it really depends on the severity of the burn.

A first degree burn is typically minor, about as bad as a sunburn. They do not typically require immediate medical attention.

A second degree burn is more severe, often with blistering and significant pain. This type of burn can sometimes be treated at a clinic or at home. You should go to the ER for this type of burn if:

  • The burn is on your hands or face.
  • The burn covers a large amount of your body.
  • The burn goes over any joints. Scarring from a burn can lead to contracture around the joint and interfere with mobility.

A third degree burn is the most severe, with skin turning white and/or no feeling in the injury. All third degree burns should be treated at an ER immediately. They will need to be treated by a specialist.

Remember, if you are unsure of whether your burn is severe enough, no one will fault you for visiting the emergency room. If you have a burn that needs treatment, it's best to be seen sooner rather than later.

How Much screen Time is Too Much for You?

You've read about how too much screen time can be bad for children, but how much screen time is too much for you?

A recent study from Scripps Health shows that most adults spend 11 hours a day looking at a screen. From a desk job at a computer all day to watching TV at home to just surfing the web on your phone, you probably spend a lot of your day looking at some sort of screen.

Too much screen time can lead to several health problems including:

  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Back and neck pain
  • Insomnia
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Additionally, screen time takes away time to do other things that could improve your health like exercise.

Find balance between screen time and non-screen time. Take breaks. Get up and move.

And to help minimize eye strain, remember the 20-20-20 Rule. Every twenty minutes, look at something 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

Just Going to Leave This Here

Scot tries tai chi and learns he may need an anatomy lesson. Meanwhile Troy speaks about the "epidemic of loneliness" and how he uses volunteering meet people.

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