Does alcohol abuse harm a woman's eggs? - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Does alcohol abuse harm a woman's eggs?


Hello, does anyone know if previous heavy drinking can harm a woman's eggs or cause any other irreversible fertility problems?

I've done loads of googling on this and can't really find an answer. I don't want to ask the doctor because (rightly or wrongly) I don't want any reference to possible alcohol abuse in my medical records.

We have started trying for our second child, with no luck so far. I'm scared that I've damaged my eggs, and that if I do fall pregnant I will miscarry, or the baby will be more at risk of health problems.

By the way, I am 30 and have been drinking heavily for five years with a few periods of sobriety. (I only started drinking heavily after I finished breastfeeding our first child - that's another long, sad story.)

Anyway, I'm on day 4 of sobriety now and planning to live as a non-drinker for good now, regardless of pregnancy or lack thereof....

Thanks in advance for any help :o)
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Why are you scared of asking your doctor?
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Fernaceman, I worked for the NHS (National Health Service) here in the UK for many years, and while I think it's great, I'm also aware of how the health records work, and I just don't want anything alcohol-related on my records. A recorded instance of addiction could potentially trigger 'social care' which I believe would not be beneficial to my family.

Also, while my doctor is a lovely person, she probably wouldn't know the answer - when I've gone to see her in the past, having myself researched whatever the cause of the visit, she's gone onto her computer to look up whatever I've asked about and just come up with the same information I've already found, and with this particular issue, I can find very little useful info in the online medical journals.

A long-winded answer to a short question, and I'm not saying people shouldn't talk to their doctor about alcohol, just that I'm not planning to at this point in time as I think the potential negatives outweigh the potential positives.

Any actual information or experiences regarding my original post regarding female fertility would be greatly appreciated - many thanks!
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes it does. I just did a google search on alcoholism and fertility and tons came up. Here is a good study: Menstrual disturbances and fertility in ... [Drug Alcohol Depend. 1989] - PubMed - NCBI

I know you're going to do what you like but I would advise waiting until you've been sober longer before having your 2nd child. You don't want to drink during your pregnancy. In addition, you've been drinking excessively while raising your first child. If one child didn't stop you, I really wonder if the stress of 2 is the answer. I know you stopped before but alcoholism is progressive and it's not as easy to stop the more you progress in your addiction.

I know you want the best for you and your family. I wish you well.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Cerene, thank you for your reply.

It looks like that study was more about cycles, and my cycle has always been very, very regular (pretty much to the hour!), whether I'm drinking or not. So that's a good sign as it indicates my hormone levels have remained steady. I was more worried about whether alcohol harms the actual egg cells, but I can't find anything to indicate they are any more susceptible to damage than any other cells in our bodies. (Also, that study looks at miscarriage rates, but only for women in active alcoholism and I'm not drinking anymore.... )

I would never in a million years drink while pregnant, and have been completely sober since March 1, so I'm not feeling as concerned now about fertility issues. I think we women are exposed to so many scare stories about not being able to get pregnant, I became overly nervous!

Thanks again for your kind words and concern.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I remember seeing something new about this topic, and it took me a while to find it because it actually was a study of a flowering plant. In fact, it is amazing what science does not know about the effects of alcohol on human beings.

"Epigenetic changes to the genome can have heritable effects."

Steven Eichten and Justin Borevitz, in a review of:
R. Schmitz, et al., "Patterns of Population Epigenomic Diversity," Nature v. 495, pp. 193-198, 14 March 2013.
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi I have also wondered the same thing and been looking extensively for info on it. In the same situation as you so feel free to message me..cheers
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I drank heavily for eight years before I quit the first time. I got pregnant very quickly 6 months into sobriety at the age of 37! 8 months after I gave birth, I got pregnant again.
I guess everyone is different, but be sure to take plenty of folic acid, and just eat well in general.
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I know this is an old thread, but have you conceived yet?
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