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Alcohol Consumption And Infertility

Posted by on Saturday, December 26, 2009, 13:43
This news item was posted in Infertility category and has 1 Comment so far.

Women who are trying to become pregnant should avoid alcoholic beverages both prior to and after conception.

During pregnancy, alcohol consumption increases a woman’s infertility and  risk of giving birth to a child with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Typically, FAS babies have a number of physical and mental deficiencies. At birth, they are generally underweight and smaller than normal infants.

Characteristically, their faces are somewhat malformed with low nasal bridges and thin upper lips, and many have heart and joint abnormalities. Mental retardation, poor coordination, and behavioral problems are the most serious mental defects affecting children with FAS.

Even though much research on FAS has been done, it is still not known how much alcohol during pregnancy is safe, and if certain alcoholic drinks are “safer” than others. For this reason, women who are pregnant should refrain from drinking any amount of alcohol (especially during the first trimester).

In addition to causing possible damage to the fetus, alcohol consumption can also impair fertility. A number of studies have indicated that consuming large amounts of alcohol can prevent ovulation, as well as increase the incidence of miscarriage.

One study conducted by Harvard University researchers found that women who consumed in excess of seven drinks a week were more likely to be infertile due to ovulation problems than women who did not drink. The study also indicated that women who consume between four and seven drinks a week have a 30 percent increased risk of infertility.

And men who drink on a regular basis were found to have a higher than average percentage of abnormal sperm. Alcohol has also been implicated in causing elevated prolactin levels. Prolactin is a hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland (the same gland that produces luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones).

In males, high levels of prolactin can lower testosterone levels, reducing sperm production. In women, high prolactin levels, or hyperprolactinaemia, can cause irregular ovulation and menstrual cycles, and lower progesterone levels. Without adequate progesterone, the uterine wall cannot maintain an endometrial lining that is adequate enough to house a fertilized egg.

Given the well documented and conclusive evidence linking alcohol consumption with infertility, if you drink regularly and are having trouble conceiving, there may be a link between the two.

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1 Response to “Alcohol Consumption And Infertility”

  1. 10 January, 2010, 16:15

    James Cushman…

    Hey, useful post but can’t agree on everything here. Thanks anyway :)…

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