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Reproductive System

Many believe that alcohol enhances sexual performance while the reality is that alcohol is a depressant that negatively affects the reproductive system.

Females

Alcohol use is associated with causing decreased vaginal lubrication, which can cause discomfort with intercourse.

Menstrual abnormalities, such as amenorrhea (cessation of the menstrual cycle) and failure to ovulate may occur. Additionally, alcohol has some effect on uterine contractions. Fertility (the ability to become pregnant) is also impaired with alcohol abuse.

It is recommended that women abstain from alcohol when planning to get pregnant and during pregnancy because of the many complications for the fetus including premature birth and fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Breast cancer is a risk factor for women who engage in even moderate drinking.

Men

Many men believe that alcohol is a beneficial aid in sexual relations when actually the opposite is true. Loss of libido (sexual desire) can occur. As blood alcohol levels rise impotency can occur. Additionally, with chronic alcohol use, atrophy (shrinkage) of the testicles can occur. This is related to alcohol-induced testosterone deficiency.

Estrogen synthesis can also be found in chronic alcohol users. Men suffering from this problem can exhibit feminizing characteristics such as breast development and loss of body hair.

Men and Women

Both sexes are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, as there is a relationship between alcohol and high-risk sexual behaviors. Because poor judgement frequently accompanies excessive alcohol consumption, both males and females may engage in sexual relations without regard to personal safety.