Sunshine equals a Vitamin D boost, holidays and more time outdoors. But heatwaves are something else altogether, and research has shown that fertility can suffer, from exposure to dynamic shifts in temperature. High temperatures can reduce the chances of conception. This is because heat can damage sperm and eggs, making it more difficult for them to meet and fertilize.
One study found that women who lived in areas with high summer temperatures had a 20% lower chance of getting pregnant than women who lived in cooler areas. Another study found that men who worked in hot environments had a 40% lower sperm count than men who worked in cooler environments.
The effects of hot weather on fertility are thought to be due to a number of factors, including:
- Damage to sperm DNA, which can make it more difficult for sperm to fertilize an egg.
- Reduced blood flow to the reproductive organs, which can make it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
- Heat stress can alter the hormonal balance in the body. This can disrupt the menstrual cycle, leading to irregular periods, heavier bleeding, and increased pain during periods. In extreme cases, heat stress can also lead to amenorrhea, i.e., absence of menstruation.
- Heat exposure can also decrease fertility in women. High temperatures can cause damage to the eggs, reduce their quality, and impair ovulation.
Temperature is just one of many things that affect fertility. If you are trying to conceive, it is important to stay cool during hot weather. This means drinking plenty of fluids, staying in air-conditioned environments, and avoiding strenuous activity. You may also want to consider taking a break from trying to conceive during the hottest months of the year.