When it comes to pregnancy and alcohol, many of us know that women should not drink while pregnant. But not everyone is aware that alcohol consumption before pregnancy can also cause problems with fertility, especially when it comes to the male.
Men who regularly participate in heavy drinking are at risk for a number of fertility-related side effects, including low libido and reduced sperm count. A heavy drinker may also experience sexual dysfunction as a result of alcohol. The more a man drinks, the more at risk he is for affected fertility. Seeking treatment at a rehab facility such as the Vertava Health treatment centers can help men reclaim their lives in sobriety and improve overall health and wellness.
What Amount Of Alcohol Impacts Male Fertility?
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 23 percent of men drank an average of eight drinks per sitting multiple times a month. Additionally, the CDC found that in an estimated 35 percent of infertility cases, both male and female factors were discovered.
Studies have found that one major factor that contributes to male infertility is heavy alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking is considered more than five drinks within a two hour period for men or more than 15 mixed drinks in a week. However, it’s important to note that low to moderate alcohol consumption – up to two drinks in one sitting – does not have a negative effect on male fertility.
How Does Alcohol Affect Male Fertility?
Heavy alcohol consumption can directly affect the reproductive system of a male as well as his hormones. Alcohol abuse impacts a male’s hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis or HPG axis. This axis makes up the reproductive system in a man and consists of the testes, hypothalamus, and anterior pituitary gland.
By interfering with how the reproductive system functions, alcohol abuse can significantly impact both a male’s sperm production and his hormones. This, in turn, can reduce fertility and make it more difficult for a couple to become pregnant.
Ways In Which Alcohol Abuse Impacts Male Fertility
There are several different ways in which a male’s fertility may be affected by alcohol abuse. One way is by lowering a man’s libido, making it harder to perform or want to perform sexually. Decreased libido can lead to decreased sex, which can make it more difficult to become pregnant.
Additionally, alcohol abuse can:
- negatively impact a man’s hormone levels, including testosterone, estrogen, follicle-stimulating hormones, and luteinizing hormones
- cause early or decreased ejaculation
- impact the release of gonadotropin, which directly affects sperm production and quality
- shrink the testes
What’s more, alcohol abuse can severely affect the quality of a man’s sperm. Studies have found that men who drink heavily are more likely to have abnormal sperm. This can include the motility, size, shape, and count of the sperm. Some men who abuse alcohol may have no sperm in their semen, making it impossible for pregnancy to occur naturally.
The more alcohol a man drinks, the more likely he is to have abnormal sperm and other fertility-related problems. However, lowering alcohol consumption or quitting drinking can drastically improve fertility in men who experienced fertility problems as a result of drinking. In fact, some studies have shown a significant improvement in sperm after 90 days of abstinence.
Getting Help For Alcohol Abuse
If you are wondering whether your heavy drinking is negatively impacting your fertility or have tried to quit drinking and have been unsuccessful, you may be struggling with an alcohol use disorder. Seeking treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction is one of the best decisions you can make for your overall health and life in general. Vertava Health has several treatment facilities across the nation that offer personalized programs of recovery for individuals looking to overcome alcohol addiction.
To learn more about how alcohol abuse can affect male fertility, contact an Vertava Health’ treatment specialist today.