Alcohol and Reproductive health (exclusively for men)
Many studies have shown that excessive alcohol intake is bad for
general health, but a few have shown it’s impact on reproductive health,
except at very high levels.. A study conducted by the dept of Urology
at the University of Stanford School of medicine confirmed that although
men drinking the most alcohol- 40 units or more- had lower sperm counts, the most surprising finding was seen even in men drinking as little as five units a week.
A second study found that drinking a lot of alcohol was linked to a
higher risk of contracting human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually
transmitted disease. HPV can lead to head, neck, penile and anal cancers
in men according to the U.S National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Alcohol also affects the immune system adversely, leading to increased susceptibility of viral infection.
Given the known health impacts of excessive drinking, these new studies
provide newer risk factors for alcohol consumption, therefore
moderation is probably best.
Also, alcohol can also affect the Leydig cells in the testes. This is responsible for the production of testosterone hormone.
Studies found that heavy alcohol consumption results in reduced testosterone levels in the blood. Alcohol also impairs the function of the testicular Sertoli cells that play an important role in sperm maturation. In the pituitary gland, alcohol can decrease the production, release, and/or activity of two hormones with critical reproductive functions, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. Finally, alcohol can interfere with hormone production in the hypothalamus.