EXCLUSIVE: National Alcohol Awareness Month: How much influence does alcohol have on fertility? Expert opines
The things which are good for your overall health including regular exercise, staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet and cutting down on smoke and alcohol are good for your fertility as well. Alcohol consumption is a pivotal issue because there are many theories involved with it and some of them are completely non-scientific, which are generally moulded by us according to our convenience. Often a couple, who are trying to conceive, some with many set of questions pertaining to alcohol such as is it alright to consume alcohol while you’re trying to conceive? If so, how much? And, does heavy drinking in your past mess with your fertility in the present?
Avoid heavy drinking
If a couple is planning to conceive, the biggest lifestyle change one has to bid adieu to is the heavy drinking habit. There is evidence that heavy drinking can affect a couple’s fertility in the short and long term. According to many dietary associations, moderate drinking should be the key. For men, the limit of moderate drinking is two drinks and for women, it’s one drink a day. Many pieces of evidence from the past show that in women, alcohol can cause changes in cycle regulation and ovulation in the setting of heavy, chronic use. Some studies also suggest that chronic, heavy drinking can lead to a low quantity of eggs.
Heavy alcohol has a similar effect on male fertility. Studies have shown that alcohol causes disruption in certain male hormones that lead to sperm production. If you’re a heavy drinker in the past, there are chances that your fertility might have gone for a toss but it depends upon body to body.
Moderate drinking doesn’t affect fertility much
Finally, some good news for the people who love to drink! We don’t have a lot of studies evaluating the physiologic effects of alcohol consumption on reproductive physiology but there isn’t a strong association between light to moderate drinking and infertility for most people. It’s always a good idea to cut down on alcohol consumption when you’re planning to conceive. Conceiving is a complete process, Diet and exercise play equally important role when it comes to conceiving. However, there is a misperception that if you are exercising and eating well, you are less likely to be infertile.
Fertility experts often tell their patients that reproductive health is not always synonymous with overall health. But, if a couple, who are moderate drinkers are unable to conceive even after a year should immediately consult a fertility expert and might need to cut down the alcohol intake.
About the author: Dr. Aswati Nair, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, New Delhi.
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