New York: A comprehensive study of more than 9,000 men with fertility problems has revealed that defects in the semen can lead to hypertension and other health issues.
Investigators at Stanford University's school of medicine found that poor semen quality can also trigger skin and endocrine disorders.
About 15 percent of all couples have fertility issues and in half of those cases, the male partner has semen deficiencies.
"We should be paying more attention to these millions of men. Infertility is a warning as problems with reproduction may mean problems with overall health," said study's lead author Michael Eisenberg, assistant professor of urology and director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford.
In the new study, Eisenberg and his colleagues analysed the medical records of 9,387 men, mostly between the age of 30 and 50.
The researchers assessed semen samples for characteristics including volume, concentration and motility.
In about half of all the male infertility cases, the problem was abnormal semen; in the rest, the fault lay elsewhere.
Using the database, the investigators were able to compare the overall health status of men who had semen defects to that of the men who did not.
In particular, they found a substantial link between poor semen quality and specific diseases of the circulatory system, notably hypertension, vascular disease and heart disease.
"There are a lot of men who have hypertension so understanding that correlation is of huge interest to us," Eisenberg noted.
In addition, as the number of different kinds of defects in a man's semen rose, so did his likelihood of having a skin disease or endocrine disorder.
The findings, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, may spur more-comprehensive approaches to treating male infertility.