Is it true that sauna reduces sperm count in men?
In fact, there is some truth to this myth. At high temperatures, such as those found in saunas or hot tubs, the heat exposure can become too hot for sperm. This can lead to sperm death and a decrease in the amount of semen. In men, the testicles hang down from the body to keep them cool. Sperm production decreases if the testicles are warmed even a few degrees.
This helps explain why men’s sperm count temporarily decreases when they wear tight pants, frequently sit in hot tubs, or hold their laptops on their laps for long periods of time. Recent research has also found that sperm production peaks in winter, likely due to cooler temperatures.
Study from Finland
In Finland, men who were in good health and had normal sperm counts participated in a study. They spent 15 minutes in the sauna twice a week for three months and then stopped using the sauna. In all subjects, three months of sauna use resulted in a significant decrease in sperm count, which remained at a low level even after the three months were over. After six months, however, sperm production had returned to normal levels.
Although the study found that men’s sperm production decreased after a sauna session, it is not known how sauna sessions affect men’s reproductive health. A man’s sperm count does not necessarily correspond to his fertility, which is determined by the shape and speed of sperm migration. To put it better, quality may be more important than quantity. Also, because the study was so small and included only 10 healthy men, it’s unclear how the results translate to all men.
The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.