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Non-Standard Work Shifts Might Affect Sexual Health

Non-Standard Work Shifts Might Affect Sexual Health

Three new studies have found that low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality, and urinary problems are common in men who work non-standard shifts, especially those who also have shift work sleep disorder (SWSD).

SWSD refers to a circadian rhythm disorder that leads to extreme daytime drowsiness. Non-standard shift workers tend to have work hours outside the typical 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. time frame.

Here’s what the researchers discovered:

  • Testosterone. Non-standard shift workers had more severe symptoms of low testosterone (such as fatigue and low sex drive) than men who worked during the day, and for men with SWSD, the symptoms were even worse.
  • Sperm Quality. Infertile shift workers tended to have lower sperm counts and fewer moving sperm than those who worked more traditional hours.
  • Urinary Problems. Non-standard shift workers diagnosed with SWSD had more severe urinary problems than those without SWSD. In this case, the researchers suggested that poor sleep, not shift work itself, played a larger role.

Men who feel that shift work is affecting their health – sexually or otherwise – are encouraged to talk to their doctor and, perhaps, their boss. Practicing good sleep hygiene is important for all aspects of health. But if one’s work schedule is making it difficult to sleep well, adjustments may be needed.

The findings of all three studies were presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Urological Association.



Dotinga, Randy

“Shift Work May Put Damper on a Man's Sex Life”

(May 15, 2017)

Journal of Urology

Kirby, Will, et al.

“MP91-06 Increased Risk of Hypogonadal Symptoms in Shift Workers with Shift Work Sleep Disorder”

(Abstract. April 2017)

Kohn, Taylor P., et al.

“PD13-08 Shift Work is Associated with Altered Semen Parameters in Infertile Men”

(Abstract. April 2017)

Sigalos, John, et al.

“MP13-12 Shift Workers with Shift Work Sleep Disorder Have Increased Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms”

(Abstract. April 2017)

MedPage Today

Bassett, Mike

“Shift Work Impacts Men's Sexual Health”

(May 14, 2017)