- Written by Marcel Gemme C.C.D.C
Substance Abuse and Fertility
Another health problem that can be traced to abuse of alcohol, drugs and other addictive substances is infertility. In the past years, many researches and studies have found that a lot of people, both male and female, are unable to conceive because of their addiction.
How These Substances Damage the Reproductive System
Abuse of alcohol, tobacco and drugs can wreak havoc to the natural hormonal balance in your body thus affect your fertility. For example, themetabolism in women can decrease, resulting in higher estrogen levels in the body. Estrogen, as you know, is a hormone responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle in women and controlling sperm production in men.
Effects of Different Substances
Prescription Drugs – abuse of prescription drugs such as antidepressants has been known to cause low sperm count, menstrual irregularities and even erectile dysfunction. Steroids were also found to decrease sperm production.
Alcohol – it is not surprising that heavy alcohol drinkers suffer from a myriad of health problems, including infertility. Based on studies, a person who drinks more than six alcoholic drinks daily is more at risk to have hormonal imbalance. Such imbalance can affect sperm production as well as ovulation. Women who drink heavily suffer from, anovulation and luteal phase defects while the men suffer from abnormalities in sperm morphology and motility.
Tobacco – the addictive substance in cigarettes, nicotine, is found to cause serious reproductive problems. Aside from infertility, a woman who smokes is more likely to miscarry than those who do not. Sperm motility and sperm count are also affected by cigarette smoking.
Illegal Drugs – infertility is often the side effect experienced by individuals who smoke marijuana and take amphetamines, heroin, cocaine and/or ecstasy. Aside from low sperm count, side effects include reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, ovulatory dysfunction and abnormal sperm. Heroin directly affects the testosterone and LH levels which are responsible for ensuring healthy sperm. Birth defects are also common among women who continue to use the substance while pregnant. Marijuana, on the other hand, can affect the quality of the seminal fluid as well as the sperm behavior. Illegal drugs can affect someone's fertility.
Substance abuse also raises the risk for unwanted pregnancy. In small doses, it can remove all traces of inhibitions, which result to promiscuous behavior, putting the person at risk for sexually-transmitted diseases.
If you and your partner are trying to conceive, you should make sure that you rid your body of these harmful substances. In case you require help, there are programs, which can help you kick such addictions. All it will take is a single step in the right direction to start your recovery.