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Fertil Steril. 2016 Jan;105(1):174-87.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.09.016. Epub 2015 Oct 23.

Psychological stress and testicular function: a cross-sectional study of 1,215 Danish men.

Author information

1
University Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2
Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; National Research Center for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark.
3
University Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address: Niels.Joergensen@rh.regionh.dk.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To study the associations between self-reported psychological stress, semen quality, and serum reproductive hormones among young Danish men.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SETTING:

University hospital-based research center.

PARTICIPANT(S):

Danish men (median age 19 years) from the general population were investigated from 2008 to 2012.

INTERVENTION(S):

Participants completed a questionnaire on health and lifestyle, including a four-item questionnaire about self-rated stress, had a physical examination performed, delivered a semen sample, and had a blood sample drawn.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Semen parameters (semen volume, sperm concentration, and percentages of motile and morphologically normal spermatozoa) and serum levels of reproductive hormones (LH, FSH, T, calculated free T, sex hormone-binding globulin, and inhibin B).

RESULT(S):

Poorer semen quality was detected among men with self-reported stress scores above an intermediate stress level, in a dose-response manner. For example, men with the highest stress levels had 38% (95% confidence interval [CI] 3%; 61%) lower sperm concentration, 34% (95% CI 59%; 106%) lower total sperm count, and 15% (95% CI 1%; 27%) lower semen volume than men with intermediate stress levels. No significant associations between self-reported stress and levels of reproductive hormones were detected.

CONCLUSION(S):

A negative association between self-reported stress and semen quality was detected. If causal, stress may be a contributing factor for suboptimal semen quality among otherwise healthy men.

KEYWORDS:

Stress; normal men; reproductive hormones; semen quality; sperm concentration

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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