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The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Reproductive System

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Alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on the body.  In fact, it can devastate many systems in the body, from your cardiovascular system to your brain function.   Alcohol abuse can have particularly negative effect on the reproductive system, resulting in infertility, hormonal problems and various sexual disorders.

Because alcohol abuse, whether habitual and frequent or infrequent and in large quantities depletes the body of essential nutrients, it can cause long–term damage.

Nutrient Deficiencies Caused By Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse depletes many essential nutrients from the body, such as vitamin B, zinc, iron magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium, causing severe deficiency over time.

These vitamins and minerals are needed for the body’s most basic functions, including reproduction. Low vitamin B negatively affect metabolism, which can cause abnormal hormonal levels in both men and women, making it difficult to perform.

A lack of magnesium, calcium and iron can severely worsen premenstrual symptoms (PMS) in women suffering from alcohol abuse. Furthermore, men who are deficient in zinc may experience low sperm count and benign prostatic hyperplasia or an enlargement of the prostate gland.

Excess Estrogen

All types of alcohol will drive down testosterone and increase estrogen. In women, this can cause hot flashes, an irregular menstrual cycle, difficulty becoming pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy and painful breasts. For men, this increase in estrogen can cause frequent prostate infections, low sperm count, an inability to achieve an erection and low libido.

The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Reproductive System: Cancer

Alcohol abuse is thought to increase the risk of many types of cancers, including ovarian, prostate and testicular cancers. Although not all of the evidence conclusively shows that alcohol increases the risk, there is still enough evidence to warrant caution and moderation when it comes to alcohol consumption.

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Endocrine Disruption

In large quantities or over time, alcohol causes severe disruption to the endocrine system, upsetting the delicate balance of such critical hormones as estrogen, testosterone, prolactin and progesterone. These four hormones must be precisely regulated if the male or female reproductive system is to work correctly.

Furthermore, endocrine disruption throws the body’s entire metabolism out of order, leading to weight gain and problems with blood sugar that further hinder proper reproductive functioning.


While nobody pays it too much thought, being appropriately hydrated is an important part of healthy reproductive function. Because alcohol abuse drains the body of it water stores very quickly, chronic dehydration is common in heavy drinkers.

Without enough water, men may experience poor quality erections, low seminal volume and prostate infections. Women can endure persistent vaginal dryness, painful menstruation and greater susceptibility to yeast infections.

Alcohol abuse can be particularly devastating to the body over time.  Fortunately many of the effects of alcohol abuse, including malnutrition and dehydration are reduced the longer a person is sober. If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol abuse, dependency or addiction, please call us today.

Our counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of alcohol abuse and provide you with the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.  Substance abuse treatment is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse issues.

See also  Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Skin

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