Harmful Effects of Alcohol and Fertility

Both male and female fertility is affected on a large range due to excessive consumption of alcohol that comes under lifestyle factors. Though it is not yet established, what is its total effect or actually how much of it can affect infertility, but its effect behind some women's unexplained infertility cannot be denied.

Effects of Alcohol on Women's Fertility

Alcohol consumption has already been seen as a dread for women because of its established relation with the cause of some of the diseases. Like liver disease, breast cancer, heart disease and depression. Now another potential hazard for women has been added to this list in the form of infertility. It is not just a problem for women who are heavy drinkers but also for those, who are just moderate drinkers. It is still difficult to establish any safe level of maternal drinking.

Even very low levels of alcohol consumption can make alcoholic mothers a curse for their children, who may be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Its characteristics are deficient growth, mental retardation, a typical heart shaped facial appearance and behavioral changes in the newborn baby of an alcoholic mother. In addition to this, there are 30 to 40 percent chances of the birth of a baby of alcoholic mothers with brain anomalies or congenial heart defects. It happens due to alcohol consumption, during or before pregnancy by the mother of these babies. Leaving genetic causes, alcohol consumption has been noticed as one of the most important causes that can lead to mental abnormality in babies.

Adverse effects of alcohol consumption cause different kinds of infertility threats. It can increase the risk of spontaneous abortion or cause impaired fetal growth and development. Research results show that the probability of conception in women decreases in proportion to the increase in alcohol consumption.

Excess intake of alcohol can cause numerous ovulatory dysfunctions. Alcohol consumption should certainly be avoided if infertility has been recognized and especially if its anovulation (lack of ovulation) disorder. Alcoholism has also been undoubtedly associated with hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian dysfunction resulting in amenorrhea, i.e. absence of menses. Luteal phase defect (abnormal development of the endometrial lining), and hyperprolactinemia are some other infertility related dysfunctions caused by alcohol abuse. It can also change estrogen and progesterone levels.

Effects of Alcohol on Male Fertility

Alcoholism in men causes increase in abnormal shaped sperms that can lead to impotency. Abnormal liver function and high estrogen levels may cause interference with sperm development. Like a toxin, alcohol may destroy the sperm-generating cells. In addition to this, alcohol abuse can also have adverse effects on the hormone levels in men. However, these effects may be reversed in most of the cases by abstinence. Sperm takes at least three months to develop. In order to get the current count and stage of semen, one should go for a semen analysis once again, after three to four months of self-restraint.