Women, Alcohol and Fertility
Studies show that estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men who drink moderate amounts of alcohol could be reduced enough to cause fertility problems. In addition, women who drink more than two drinks per day may experience missed periods and abnormal bleeding, two events indicating that ovulation is probably not occurring. Moderate to heavy alcohol drinking in women is also associated with lack of ovulation due to pituitary/ovarian/hypothalamic dysfunction (ethanol-related), absence of menstrual cycles because of abnormalities in the uterine endometrial lining and fluctuating levels of progesterone and estrogen which can impact fertility.
Excessive alcohol consumption may decrease levels of the mineral zinc in a man’s body, which can lower the amount and health of sperm. Ethanol interferes with testosterone production and facilitates the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. Higher than normal levels of estrogen in a man can reduce sperm count as well as libido. In addition, zinc is vital to the testes for producing healthy sperm, enhancing sperm mobility, promoting testicle growth and suppressing increasing estrogen levels.
Alcohol also affects other important nutrients involved in fertility, including:
- Amino acids–required for sperm and ova production
- Vitamin A–necessary for testosterone production
- Vitamin B6 and B12–lack of B6 and B12 could decrease sperm counts and reduce motility of sperm
- Vitamin C–essential for healthy sperm strong enough to swim up the fallopian tubes
Fortunately, the effects of alcohol on male and female infertility usually begins reversing upon abstaining from alcohol. Hormone levels return to normal fairly quickly but vitamin and mineral levels may need replenished through eating nutritional foods and taking supplements. In some cases, men and women who used to drink moderately or socially may experience fertility problems that require a visit to a fertility center for testing to pinpoint the exact cause of the infertility.
New York Reproductive Wellness provides fertility evaluations for men and women as well as IVF, natural cycle IVF, ovulation induction and other fertility techniques conducive to achieving pregnancy. If you are worried about the effects of alcohol on your ability to conceive, please call our fertility center in Long Island/Jericho to schedule an appointment today: (516) 612-8466.