High pollution levels not only harms lung functioning in people with breathing issues; it also damages healthy lungs. So there is no doubt about the fact that pollution increases the stress on the cardiovascular system. But recent studies have shown that pollution is even linked to malfunctioning of your reproductive system, causing low libido, erectile dysfunction, and low sperm quality! Alarming right?

Although erectile dysfunction studies about pollution to date have been only conducted on rodents, low libido and low sperm studies have been conducted on humans and have shown cautious results.

So if you are living in a city that is notorious for its pollution levels, it’s not only your lungs that you need to worry about. As per experts, air pollution lower sex drive or libido by 30% and affect the quality of sperm, which further lower your chances of conceiving.

This falling rate of conception has worried the fertility experts. As per them, 15% of the Indian male population is infertile, and this percentage is much much higher when compared with females.

So how do this whole air pollution and low libido thing work? Particulate matters of air pollution consist of high amounts of mercury, cadmium, and hydrocarbons which can harm hormones and even be toxic to the quality of sperms. By lowering levels of estrogen and testosterone in females and males respectively, air pollution leads to lower libidos, thereby lowering episodes of sex and intimacy as well.

Coming to erectile dysfunction that affects around 15 million to 30 million men around the globe; one can term it when they face repeated issues of getting a firm erection over three to six months.  When it comes to air pollution and ED, researchers of Guangzhou University China claims that it is not good for erection and general health.

In their study, The rats were exposed to motor vehicle exhaust for five days a week, with three groups being exposed to the same for two hours, four hours and six hours a day, respectively. One group was not exposed to any pollutants at all. This experiment was carried out for three months, at the end of which the rats were tested for their lung functioning and erectile functioning.

Along with problems in lung functioning, the rats which were exposed to vehicular exhaust showed a significant reduction of erectile function, which was measured using electrical stimulation. As per the researchers, this was due to synthetic inflammation and reduced level of nitric oxide, which resulted in damage in arteries and reducing blood flow to all organs, including the penis.

Though it does not signify a definite issue of ED in men exposed to air pollution, it can be taken as a possibility and warning sign!

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP