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01.12.2018 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 1/2018

Sport, doping and male fertility

Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology > Ausgabe 1/2018
Andrea Sansone, Massimiliano Sansone, Diana Vaamonde, Paolo Sgrò, Ciro Salzano, Francesco Romanelli, Andrea Lenzi, Luigi Di Luigi


It is universally accepted that lifestyle interventions are the first step towards a good overall, reproductive and sexual health. Cessation of unhealthy habits, such as tobacco, alcohol and drug use, poor nutrition and sedentary behavior, is suggested in order to preserve/improve fertility in humans. However, the possible risks of physical exercise per se or sports on male fertility are less known. Being “fit” does not only improve the sense of well-being, but also has beneficial effects on general health: in fact physical exercise is by all means a low-cost, high-efficacy method for preventing or treating several conditions, ranging from purely physical (diabetes and obesity) to psychological (depression and anxiety), highly influencing male reproduction. If male sexual and reproductive health could be positively affected by a proper physical activity, inadequate bouts of strength – both excessive intensity and duration of exercise training – are more likely to have detrimental effects. In addition, the illicit use of prohibited drugs (i.e. doping) has reached pandemic proportions, and their actions, unfortunately very often underestimated by both amateur and professional athletes, are known to disrupt at different levels and throughout various mechanisms the male hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, resulting in hypogonadism and infertility.
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