Research has shown that the sexual effects of alcohol are different for men and women. The possible explanation for this could be the difference in which the bodies react to alcohol and respond sexually.
Although in recent times, the consumption of alcohol has become an inherent part of our lifestyle but it cannot be denied that it adversely affects the fertility in both the genders.
The birth rate being directly proportional to the fertility factor gets negatively affected as well.
The amount of alcohol consumed and the frequency of drinking has a definite co-relation with the negative sexual effects of alcohol for men, which could further reduce their chances of producing children. Most men subjected to alcohol abuse experience difficulty in getting and maintaining erections, difficulty in ejaculating or delayed ejaculation, reduced sexual desire, increased sexual aggression and infertility. Alcoholism is also seen to have an impact on the level of testosterone. Several studies show a decrease in testosterone both in alcoholic men and in non-alcoholic men, who drink enough to become intoxicated. Toxins that are found in alcohol might destroy sperm generating cells in the testicles, affect the testicular size and cause an increase in abnormally-shaped sperm, all of which could have an effect on fertility. Alcohol abuse in men has also been linked with damaged sperm and lower sperm count.
Alcohol consumption poses a potential hazard for women in terms of infertility. This is true not only for women who are heavy drinkers but also for those, who are moderately indulge in drinking. Adverse effects of alcohol consumption cause different kinds of infertility threats. It decreases the probability of conception, increases the risk of spontaneous abortion and causes numerous ovulatory dysfunctions. Alcoholism has also been undoubtedly associated with hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian dysfunction resulting in amenorrhea, which is characterised by the absence of menstruation. Abnormal development of the endometrial lining and alterations in the estrogen and progesterone levels are some other infertility related dysfunctions caused by alcohol abuse. Even very low levels of alcohol consumption can lead to children being 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, drinking before or during pregnancy leads to about 30 to 40 percent chances of the birth of a baby with brain anomalies or congenial heart defects.
The intake of alcohol during pregnancy can be very harmful for the fetus. Alcohol can pass from the mother’s blood into the baby’s blood and thus, damage and affect the growth of the baby’s cells. Brain and spinal cord cells are most likely to experience damage. The term ‘fetal alcohol spectrum disorder’ describes the range of alcohol effects on an unborn child. The problems range from mild to severe. Alcohol can cause a child to have physical or mental problems that may last all of his or her life. The effects of alcohol include odd facial features such as small head, flat face and narrow eye openings; growth problems, learning and behavior problems; birth defects involving parts of the body such as the eyes, ears, heart, bones, or urinary tract and miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth.
Every person desires to be a parent some day. Alcohol may at times kill the hope of a child altogether by causing infertility or could lead to the birth of a child with physical or mental disorders, the onus of which lies totally on the parents. Therefore, it is certainly sensible to refrain from alcohol when thinking in terms of a prospective family.
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