Substance Abuse - Male Infertility Diagnosis

Substance abuse, whether via smoke or in pill form, can have a major impact on sperm levels.

Cigarette smoking increases antioxidants in the semen, which impair sperm function. Second-hand smoke affects the woman’s reproductive health as well as the health of a developing fetus. Smoking should be stopped during and after an attempt at fathering a child. Alcohol consumption also has an effect of male fertility if alcohol is consumed in excess. Liver cirrhosis causes excess estrogen production, which inhibits normal sperm production. Alcohol and cigarettes together are a bad combination and can lead to impotence as well as decreased fertility over time.

Marijuana has similar toxic effects on sperm as cigarettes, but in addition, it affects the hormone balance in the male and with chronic use it can impair sperm production due to estrogen-like effects. This can also result in increased breast tissue as well as decreased sexual desire and sexual dysfunction.

Heroine, methadone, vicoden, Tylenol with codeine, and Percocet are among the better-known drugs known as opiates. When these drugs are taken over long periods of time (many months or years) they can shut down the normal hormonal secretions of the pituitary gland and cause a profound drop in testosterone as well as a shut down in sperm production. This can be reversible over time if the narcotics are stopped.

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