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Arch Androl. 1986;16(2):161-6.

Effects of Ramadhan fast on male fertility.


Ramadhan fast did not have any adverse effect on the fertility of healthy men. In fact there were some suggestions that fasting improves the total sperm count, the gonadotrophic hormone levels, and the testosterone level in fertile males. Fasting does not either improve or decrease the seminal quality of azoospermics but may have some effect on oligozoospermics. There was a beneficial effect of the Ramadhan fast on spermatogenesis, either via the hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular axis or by a direct effect on the testis.


To evaluate the effects of the Moslem holy month fast (Ramadhan) on male fertility, levels of serum follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and prolactin as well as semen characteristics were compared in 21 healthy Saudi adult men (8 normospermic, 10 oligospermic, and 3 azoospermic) 1 month before the fast, during Ramadhan, and 1 month after the fast. Significant changes recorded among the normospermic men included: a reduction in LH levels after the fast, an increase in prolactin during and after the month of fasting, a reduction in semen volume after Ramadhan, an elevation of serum pH during and after the fast, and a rise in total sperm count during the fast and a reduction in sperm count after Ramadhan. Since LH is directly responsible for spermatogenesis, the reduction in LH levels after the fast and the reduction in total sperm count are most likely related phenomena. In oligospermics, there was a proportional rise of testosterone with the level of prolactin. The total count and live- sperm percentage were improved during fasting among oligospermic men, but the percentage of weak sperm also increased. Among azoospermics, the only significant findings were a fall in the LH level during the fasting month and a rise in the testosterone and prolactin levels. Overall, these findings suggest that the Ramadhan fast has no adverse effects on the fertility of healthy adult men and may even improve the total sperm count, gonadotrophic hormone levels, and testosterone levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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