Although fertility is outside the scope of my practice as a sports medicine specialist in San Diego, I advocate the use of sunblock during outdoor activities. As a result, I want to make sure that my patients are well aware of issues that may arise from sunblock.
With the strange weather many areas have been having in the US lately, many people keep heading to the beach. And, just like during the summer, they’re taking to exercise, cycling and running, especially in San Diego. With an active lifestyle such as this, using sunblock for protection is a must. But, a new National Institutes of Health study shows that we should all be aware of what’s in the sunblock products we use.
For years, experts have recommended sunscreens to help protect us from UV rays. Now, according to the study, the chemicals responsible for filtering out those rays may be causing other problems. These chemicals may actually lead to fertility problems in men.
Studies Show Sunscreen Chemicals May Cause Male Infertility
An even larger study was involved, the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment. It examined the connection between fertility and environmental chemicals. 500 couples were chosen from this study, and followed around as part of the smaller National Institutes of Health study. Urine samples were collected from these couples. They were also asked to keep journals until they’d successfully conceived, or had unsuccessfully tried to for 12 months.
The study authors took deep looks at the data behind the couples who took the longest to get pregnant. They all seemed to have one thing in common:
Two chemicals responsible filtering UV rays, 4OH-BP and BP-2, were found in the urine of the men. Both chemicals, which are common in sunscreens and sunblocks, were in high concentrations in their systems. These same two chemicals can also be found in many shampoos and moisturizers.
How to Protect Your Fertility from Sunblock Chemicals
The lead author of the study, Germaine Buck Louis, admits that there hasn’t been much studying done in relation to this. She stated:
“Right now, it’s thought (these chemicals) are safe for use — in preventing ionizing radiation and sunburn, but what about better health?”
Louis adds that no one knows for sure exactly how these two chemicals affect the increasing infertility in men.
Protecting Your Healthy Skin VS Protecting Fertility
So, does this mean that any man with an active lifestyle now has to make a choice between worrying about infertility issues and keeping skin healthy and cancer-free? Well, according to scientists, there isn’t very much consumers can do about it right now.
They do agree that it may help to wash these products off after you’ve completed your day of exercise, cycling and running in the San Diego sun.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports that in about 40% of couples with fertility issues, the man is either a major contributing cause or the sole cause. What an alarming fact in light of this research study.
If your routine of daily exercise, cycling and running in the San Diego sun hasn’t helped your joint pain, you may need medical help. Dr. Robert Afra of San Diego can identify the root causes of your discomfort. Contact him at his Orthopedic Surgery San Diego clinic for an evaluation today.