Most of us are aware of the dangers of consuming excessive alcohol; or, even attempting certain tasks immediately after alcohol consumption. We know we’re not supposed to drink and drive. Or drink while at work. We know that the higher the frequency of drinking, the more the dependency on alcohol, thereby leading to eventual alcoholism. Yet most of us, don’t quite consider ourselves at any real danger.
Unlike smoking, alcohol isn’t bad in any amount, so the lines get blurry. How much is too much? Which part of your body is going to really pay the price should you put a toe out of line? Is it just the liver or are there other risks? Are women more prone to alcohol-related risks? Does this have anything to do with fertility at all? We will attempt to answer at least some of these questions in this piece.
Before we begin, let’s answer the basic question – How much is too much?
A daily consumption of 4-6 drinks or 2-3 oz of alcohol is considered moderate alcohol abuse. While serious alcoholism may mean 8 or more drinks a day (4 ounces or more).
Alcohol and Fertility in Women
- With that said, alcohol does affect more than just the liver and women who drink on a regular basis, are not only at risk for breast cancer, but also infertility, spontaneous abortion and impaired foetal development.
- Excessive alcohol consumption is closely related to hypothalmic-pituitary-ovarian dysfunction which results in the absence of menses, abnormal development of the endometrial lining and lack of ovulation.
- It is linked with a huge number of ovarian dysfunctions and women suffering from anovulation (lack of ovulation) are advised to refrain from alcohol completely.
- Babies born of alcoholic mothers are prone to growth deficiencies, brain anomalies, mental retardation, congenital heart disease and a typical heart-shaped facial appearance.
- When it comes to pregnancy, no amount of alcohol is considered safe and absolute abstinence is a must.
Alcohol and Fertility in Men
While alcohol does not have as drastic an effect on male fertility as it does on women, excessive consumption may affect a man’s sperm count as alcohol is a toxin that can kill the sperm-producing cells in the testicles. It may also result in such things as a rise in oestrogen levels that may deter sperm development and affect hormone levels. And of course, the liver always suffers.
Most of us may not consume alcohol in such copious amounts or even on a daily basis. But it’s important to be aware of our boundaries and how easily we may make ourselves prone to things we never thought we qualified for. Unlike smoking, which is bad in any amount, alcohol may be dangerous only when we lose sense of the boundaries. The only problem though, is that boundaries once crossed are hard to live by. Relationship problems can often arise leading to councelling and relatietherapie. So whether you care about your liver or not, stay within limits if your idea of a future involves a baby.
Don’t drink and try.