Alcohol and Cigarettes Decrease Sperm Quality

Effects of Alcohol and Cigarettes on Sperm

Alcohol and cigarettes not only affect health but also fertility, including sperm quality.

If fathers frequently consume alcohol and smoke, it not only affects the health of their organs but also their fertility.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a cigarette contains more than 7,000 chemicals, where 250 of them are carcinogenic.

Similarly to cigarettes, alcohol also has a negative impact on fertility, affecting both eggs and sperm. In fact, alcohol is a major taboo for couples planning to conceive.

The Influence of Smoking on Sperm

Fathers, it is important to know that cigarettes contain harmful substances in significant amounts, such as nicotine. Nicotine can cause health problems, such as irregular heart rhythm and heart rate changes.

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According to Dr. Gito Wasian, Sp.And, an andrology specialist at Bocah Indonesia, nicotine in both conventional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes (vapes) can cause irritation and inflammation of the respiratory tract. Prolonged consumption can lead to chronic diseases and asthma.

Smoking is known to affect fertility due to nicotine and other harmful substances it contains. Because the combustion of nicotine produces free radicals that can affect sperm production.

“The combustion process (of nicotine) produces free radicals that can disrupt testosterone and sperm production. So, it will certainly affect male fertility,” said Dr. Gito.

Furthermore, nicotine can cause the release of a chemical called dopamine. This chemical substance can even reach the brain faster than alcohol, within 20 seconds of the first puff.

“This chemical substance (dopamine) can reach the brain within 20 seconds of the first puff, faster than alcohol. It is also highly addictive for users,” he added.

The Influence of Alcohol on Fertility

If fathers are undergoing a conception program, it is advisable to quit alcohol consumption. This is because alcohol can affect the shape, quantity, and movement of sperm.

Alcohol entering the bloodstream will be directed to the testes, potentially damaging and altering the shape of sperm.

One of the criteria for healthy sperm is having a normal shape, consisting of a head, neck, middle part, and a long tail. Consuming alcohol can cause the tail of sperm to curl or become damaged. This imperfect shape can reduce the sperm’s ability to swim towards the egg.

Moreover, the habit of consuming alcohol can also reduce sperm count. This condition occurs because hormones involved in sperm production, namely testosterone, decrease.

Conversely, estrogen levels increase in men. This indirectly can lead to a decrease in both the quantity and quality of sperm after alcohol consumption.

In addition to affecting sperm quantity and shape, the habit of drinking alcohol can also decrease male sexual desire. This condition can cause erectile dysfunction or impotence, thereby reducing the quality of relationships.

Now that fathers know the dangers of smoking and drinking alcohol to fertility, it is advisable to avoid these habits when planning to conceive with their partner. Change to a healthier lifestyle and consult a doctor about your fertility condition!

This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Chitra Fatimah.

Source:

  • World Health Organization. (2019). The Tobacco Body. 
  • Ricci, E., et al. (2017). Semen quality and alcohol intake: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 34(1), 38–47. 
  • Finelli, R., et al. (2022). Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Male Fertility Potential: A Narrative Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 328. 
  • Heertum, KV., Rossi, B. (2017). Alcohol and fertility: how much is too much? Fertility Research and Practice volume 3, Article number: 10. 
  • Tang, Q., et al. (2019). Semen quality and cigarette smoking in a cohort of healthy fertile men. Environ Epidemiol. 2019 Aug; 3(4): e055. 
  • Wesselink, AK., et al. (2019). Prospective study of cigarette smoking and fecundability. Hum Reprod. 2019 Mar; 34(3): 558–567.
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