Modern life rough on men
August 18th, 2011
07:30 AM ET

Modern life rough on men

Didn’t men use to be more masculine? They were more ready  to fight back, right? They walked with more swagger, and just did more things their way.

Researchers can’t measure swagger – but they can measure testosterone, the male sex hormone most responsible for masculine behaviors – and studies show that testosterone levels in men have been on the decline for decades.

Two major studies have confirmed the phenomenon, one in U.S. men and another in Danish men. In the U.S. study, the total testosterone levels measured in men’s blood dropped approximately 22% between 1987 and 2004.

Of course testosterone levels drop as men get older, but what makes the study shocking is that men today actually have less testosterone than men used to have at the same age.

The challenges to men’s health may not be limited to testosterone levels. The amount of sperm in ejaculated semen may be falling too.

A 1992 Danish analysis of sperm quality from other studies concluded that sperm quality has been dropping for decades, and a 1997 reanalysis using different mathematical modeling confirmed the decline, estimating a drop in sperm levels of about 1.5% per year in the United States.

But researchers have been gathering new data since 1996, this time using semen from Danish 18-year olds testing for military service.

That data shows no such decline at all. Oddly, the results have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but were instead released early to the Danish government, which then published them online.

If there’s strong evidence that testosterone is dropping, and the jury is still out on the decline of sperm, what other health challenges are men facing?

Male sex organ malformations are certainly among them. Hypospadias for example, a condition in which the man’s urethra opens somewhere before the tip of the penis, nearly doubled in prevalence from 1970 to 1993 according to national Birth Defects Monitoring Program.

Another study found that the percentage of babies in neonatal intensive care units with hypospadias jumped from just .4% in 1987 to 4% in 2000.

Boys also suffer higher rates of once-rare disorders like ADHD and autism. A comprehensive study of South Korean schoolchildren published earlier this year estimates 3.74% of all boys in that country have some form of autism, compared to 1.74% of girls.

To top it all off: there’s evidence that the percentage of babies born male is declining.

In the general population the difference is slight, but statistically relevant. One group of epidemiologists found that in the United States, the percentage of Caucasian babies born male decreased from 51.43% in 1970 to 51.22% in 2002. That’s equivalent to about 21 fewer men per 10,000 births.

In some populations, the drop is far more significant.

A group of Native Americans – the Chippewas of Aamjiwnaang – live on a reserve surrounded by large industrial chemical plants in Ontario, Canada. The percentage of male births there dropped from a normal rate of 55.1% in the years 1989-1993 to just 34.8% in the years 1999-2003.

Why is this happening?

Many researchers cited here mention changes in our environment, like an increase in the number of chemicals we’re exposed to in the womb, and throughout life.

Precisely how it all happens though is somewhat outside our scientific understanding, and of course something like testosterone levels affects each man very differently.

“Two men of the same age may have exactly the same testosterone level but feel very different physically, emotionally, and sexually,” says Ian Kerner, CNN’s sex counselor. “I try to work with men to re-define sex in a way that works with their situation.”

What is clear is that for whatever reason – men are taking some big biological punches from modern life.

Follow CNNHealth on Twitter

soundoff (873 Responses)
  1. Maserati Dealers In Pa

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you ought to write more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but typically folks don't speak about these subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!


    May 17, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Door Rust Repair


    May 17, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Alternator Mercedes Sprinter 2016 Repair

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you should publish more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people do not speak about such subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!


    May 17, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Gold

    Great info. Lucky mee I came across our blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I've saved it for later!

    May 17, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. situs ceme online

    First off I want to say excellent blog! I had
    a quick question that I'd like to ask if you don't mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting
    my ideas out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems
    like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any recommendations or hints? Appreciate it!

    May 17, 2021 at 05:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. 2011 Mercedes Sprinter Rv Repair


    May 17, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Parts Riverside

    I'm very happy to uncover this web site. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely savored every part of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to look at new things in your website.


    May 17, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. all class rv yorba linda


    May 17, 2021 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Chrysler Tc By Maserati For Sale

    Hello! I just want to give you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post. I am returning to your site for more soon.


    May 17, 2021 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Interior Designer Los Angeles


    May 17, 2021 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. awnings orange county


    May 17, 2021 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. online health coach


    May 18, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. air conditioning repair service near me

    This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 18, 2021 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Senior Care Palm Springs

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 18, 2021 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Forklift Repair Shop Orange County


    May 18, 2021 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Digital Marketing Events

    I need to to thank you for this very good read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I've got you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…


    May 19, 2021 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Vision Glasses Near Me

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after going through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly happy I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!


    May 19, 2021 at 03:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Contacts Lenses Near Me

    I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.


    May 19, 2021 at 05:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Eye Dr. Near Me

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    May 19, 2021 at 06:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Electric Maserati


    May 19, 2021 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Glasses Nearby

    Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to return once again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.


    May 19, 2021 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Mobile Metal Fabrication Near Me

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!


    May 19, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Countertops Near Me

    I needed to thank you for this good read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…


    May 19, 2021 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Social Media Marketing Firms Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Driver Seats Los Angeles


    May 19, 2021 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Fabrication Riverside

    After exploring a few of the blog posts on your web page, I really appreciate your technique of blogging. I book marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my website too and let me know your opinion.


    May 19, 2021 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Roof Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Internet Marketing Services


    May 19, 2021 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Content Marketing Company


    May 20, 2021 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. SEO Marketing Specialist

    Good information. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved it for later!


    May 20, 2021 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Local Marketing Firm

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be exciting to read articles from other authors and use something from other websites.


    May 20, 2021 at 06:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Social Media Marketing Business

    It’s hard to find experienced people in this particular subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 20, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Content Marketing Near Me

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!


    May 20, 2021 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. horse trailer paint colors

    Good information. Lucky me I found your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!


    May 20, 2021 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Mechanics Riverside

    I was very pleased to discover this page. I want to to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and I have you saved as a favorite to check out new information in your website.


    May 20, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. ambulance companies in orange county


    May 20, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 3.0 Sprinter Vacuum Pump Repair


    May 20, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rv service and repair near me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that will make the most significant changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 20, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Steps California


    May 20, 2021 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. vinyl wrap rv


    May 21, 2021 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. bucket truck troubleshooting

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the greatest sites on the web. I will highly recommend this blog!


    May 21, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Slide Out Riverside


    May 21, 2021 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Internet Marketing Services Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Shower Orange County

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of the site is also really good.


    May 21, 2021 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Local Marketing Experts


    May 21, 2021 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Dashboard Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Headlights Orange County


    May 21, 2021 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. rv repair and service near me

    I like reading through an article that will make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!


    May 21, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. rv plumbing parts near me


    May 21, 2021 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Driver Seats Riverside

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I don’t know why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 22, 2021 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Leave a Reply to RV Parts And Repair Near Me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.