Sauna Exposure Impairs Sperm Count and Motility

Published Online: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Sauna exposure may temporarily lower a man’s sperm count, according to a study from the February 14, 2013, issue of the journal Human Reproduction. The levels were found to return to normal after 6 months, but remained low for nearly 3 months after the men stopped visiting the sauna.

The study enrolled 10 Finnish subjects exposed to sauna and measured the effects of “scrotal hyperthermia” on spermatogenesis, sex hormone levels, sperm chromatin structure, and sperm apoptosis. Volunteers underwent two 15-minute sauna treatments per week for 3 months. Samples were collected before sauna treatments, after 3 months of exposure, and 3 and 6 months after discontinuation of exposure.

The researchers concluded that sauna exposure increased scrotal temperature by 3 degrees Celsius and significantly impaired sperm count and sperm motility. “Our data demonstrated for the first time that in normozoospermic subjects, sauna exposure induces a significant but reversible impairment of spermatogenesis, including alteration of sperm parameters, mitochondrial function, and sperm DNA packaging,” noted the authors. “Avoidance of testicular heating” could be suggested in the counseling of males seeking fertility treatment, said study researcher Carlo Foresta, a professor of endocrinology at the University of Padova in Italy, on MyHealthNewsDaily.com.

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