What are the dangers of using the sauna?

Sauna has used for refreshing and rejuvenating the body./ Net

Dear Doctor,
I have been frequently going to the sauna but my friends have warned that it causes impotence. Is this true or is it just a myth? Are there any disadvantages of using sauna frequently? Aaron


Dear Aaron,

Since time immemorial, the sauna has used for refreshing and rejuvenating the body and is extremely popular today.  A sauna bath helps in cleansing and detoxifying the body. It also has beneficial effects for the skin and cardiovascular system. But it has disadvantages as well.

One can have burns in a sauna due to the very hot temperature of the bath or accidental touching of the tubs containing very hot water.  The hot and sweaty environment can make one feel thirsty. Dehydration can occur on not taking water or fluids. But one should be cautious of drinking the water available there. It may not be clean potable water and can cause diarrhoeal disease.

As the entire body is warmed up, so are the testicles in men. This can reduce sperm count. Studies have shown a single sauna bath to reduce sperm count, which returned to normal after five weeks. Though this is reversible, but repeated, exposure to saunas may impair fertility in men. Pregnant women should avoid saunas as it can cause embryonic or foetal abnormalities.

The damp and warm environment of a sauna becomes favourable for fungal infections. A person becomes more prone to develop fungal infections of the feet and or toe nails.

The human body is meant to operate at a temperature of 98.4 degrees and can tolerate a little higher temperature. But exposure to temperatures around 100 degrees F or higher can be detrimental and may pose a medical emergency. Those with high blood pressure or heart problems should consult their doctor before going to a sauna.

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