There are numerous factors that can cause your libido to take a hit. Stress, weight, diet, and medical conditions can all take a toll on your libido, but the latest findings suggest that your occupation may also play a role. More specifically, two new studies found that men who partake in shiftwork are more likely to suffer from urinary problems and erectile dysfunction.
Additionally, a third study linked shift work with low-quality semen, which can lead to fertility issues.
Co-author of the three studies Dr. Alex Pastuszak explained that although these studies don’t prove shift work and lack of sleep directly affect male fertility and libido, “men who work shifts, particularly night shifts, should be aware they may be at risk for many health issues, and should be sure to seek care from a physician to help prevent and treat these conditions.”
“We know that shift work can disrupt circadian rhythms and disrupt normal hormonal function. Shift work can also put people at risk for shift-work sleep disorder, which causes insomnia or excessive sleepiness and a reduction of total sleep time due to a work schedule,” Pastuszak explained.
One of the studies explored 75 infertile men who were shift workers, 96 non-shift worker infertile men, and 27 fertile men who were fathers.
“Shift work can also put people at risk for shift-work sleep disorder, which causes insomnia or excessive sleepiness and a reduction of total sleep time due to a work schedule. We think that too much or too little sleep alters circadian rhythms and thus changes hormone levels and the expression of genes that are important for producing sperm,” continued Pastuszak.
Another study looked at the results obtained by 2,500 men who visited a men’s clinic and answered questions about urinary issues. The men who were shift workers had severe urinary problems and erectile dysfunction along with lower testosterone levels.
Urinary problems reported included frequent urination, urgent urination, urinary hesitation, and nighttime urination. These issues are commonly a result of an enlarged prostate or bladder dysfunction. The men were also asked about other factors that could contribute to urinary problems including tobacco use, depressive symptoms, exercise, and other medical conditions. The researchers found that being a shift worker had the greatest association with urinary problems.
Pastuszak suggested a few ways that male shift workers could protect themselves from urinary and fertility issues. He said, “these men can take the following steps to improve sleep quality: Go to bed at regular times; sleep in a dark room; avoid alcohol and caffeine prior to going to bed; and limit use of computers, tablets, phones, televisions and other bright artificial lighting for at least 30 minutes before going to bed.”
Related: Male fertility affected by sleep