Andrologist from the UGM Faculty of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing, Dr. Dicky Moch Rizal, MD, was promoted to a full professorship on Thursday (October 26), where he delivered an inaugural lecture entitled “Physiology of the Reproductive System as a Window to Men’s Health Information.”
Professor Rizal emphasized that a man’s physical health significantly affects the condition of his reproductive system. Several studies conducted in various countries have confirmed this.
For instance, in a 2020 study by Choy & Einsberg in Japan, it was discovered that men with sperm disorders had more health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases and hyperlipidemia.
Another study in Denmark revealed that men who were frequently hospitalized tended to have sperm disorders, including both production and quality.
Furthermore, a prior study in the U.S. revealed that the mortality rate among men with sperm production and quality issues was higher compared to those without, regardless of the underlying cause of death.
The andrologist mentioned various conditions that influence the physiology of sperm formation.
For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many cases of sperm disorders, leading to a decrease in production or damage to sperm.
Additionally, increased tuberculosis cases have raised concerns about the potential increase in tuberculosis cases that attack organs beyond the lungs, such as the testicles and epididymis.
Increased sperm temperature due to body fever/varicocele and exposure to fire from stoves, machines, and welding were also highlighted as factors.
He continued to explain that lifestyle changes can cause various health problems, including sperm production disorders.
For example, smoking damages testicular tissue, alcohol consumption, sleep disturbances, and excessive exercise can have negative impacts on testicular function, affecting both sperm production and reproductive hormone disruption.
He added that changes in eating patterns resulting in metabolic disorders like diabetes mellitus and obesity lead to disruptions in testicular physiology—as a consequence, sperm production and quality decrease, resulting in reduced testosterone levels.
Sedentary behavior, such as lack of exercise, smoking, stress, and alcohol consumption, can worsen this condition. In cases of diabetes and obesity, sperm damage or DNA fragmentation might occur.
“Physiological approaches such as physical activity, improving Body Mass Index (BMI), stress management, and metabolic disorder management can support the improvement of testicular function, including spermatogenesis,” Professor Rizal explained.
He then discussed the causes of sexual function disorders. Several commonly encountered sexual function disorders include libido disturbance, erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, and anorgasmia.
Erectile physiological disorders originate from vascular dysfunction, hormone imbalances, nervous system issues, and medication side effects.
Generally, these disorders are due to problems in other organ systems. For instance, diabetes mellitus causes erectile dysfunction by damaging the blood vessel’s endothelium that produces nitric oxide, often accompanied by reduced testosterone levels.
Additionally, hypertension drugs can cause erectile dysfunction due to decreased blood flow to the penis.
Obesity can lead to hypogonadism, resulting in erectile function disorders. Unhealthy lifestyles, such as smoking, can interfere with erectile function due to endothelial dysfunction.
Also, sedentary behavior, excessive exercise, alcoholism, and drug abuse lead to hormonal imbalances, affecting erectile function. Conditions of depression and medications used can lead to erectile dysfunction. Other sexual function disorders include ejaculation disorders.
Previous studies have shown that the use of medical drugs like ephedrine or sympathomimetics can cause premature ejaculation.
Professor Rizal stressed the importance of the physiological condition of the reproductive system in sperm formation, testosterone production, and sexual health.
A decrease in testosterone production can cause male health problems, as testosterone functions significantly influence the work of other organ systems.
“Disturbances in other organ systems largely cause the male reproductive system problems. Therefore, disturbances in the physiology of the reproductive system can provide comprehensive information about men’s overall health,” he concluded.