March 4, 2021

Can Drug Use Impact Fertility?

Fertility in men and women is influenced by numerous factors, such as age, health, sexual activity, body weight, and lifestyle. It can also be affected by the things people ingest. Drugs, for example – whether they are illegal or legal – can impact fertility in both men and women.  

If you’ve been trying to become pregnant for a while now, you might be wondering what’s causing the delay. Certain drugs have a direct impact on your ability to bear children. It’s important to understand how drug use can impact fertility, in order to know which ones can be used safely without compromising your health or fertility.

For in-depth understanding of your specific circumstances, you might need to consult with a gynecologist from a specialist provider like Create Health.  

You can also learn more about the different drugs men and women usually take and how it affects their fertility. Here are some of the common examples:

Testosterone

Testosterone is the main male sex hormone and its primary anabolic derivative in men. In male mammals, testosterone plays a vital role in developing male sexual organs, including the penis, testicles, and prostate, as well as secondary sexual characteristics like increased bone and muscle mass and additional hair. However, the supply of testosterone depletes over time, and when that happens, there may be a need to increase testosterone levels through injections.  

For men who have lower levels of naturally produced testosterone, these treatments offer the most effective method of boosting up the body’s levels. However, testosterone replacement therapy also has some risks

Supplemental testosterone can have a strong detrimental effect on sperm production. When a person takes in supplemental testosterone, the hormonal signals that tell the testicles to make sperm are blocked. Natural testosterone production also slows down. This will lead to a sudden drop in a man’s testosterone levels until they become too low to support healthy sperm production. When there is low sperm concentration in the semen, it can lead to male infertility.  

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are used by many athletes, bodybuilders, and sportspeople to treat athletic and other bodybuilding-related injuries. Anabolic steroids also affect the secretion of neurotransmitters. Some effects are increased libido, better erections, and the absence of acne, hair loss and dandruff, weight gain, increased energy levels and strength, reduction of cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, and potentially a lesser chance of developing diabetes and hypertension. 

Although taking anabolic steroids can have some positive effects on the body, abuse of this substance has detrimental consequences. When taken in high amounts over a long period, anabolic steroids can decrease luteinizing hormone production (LH). In both males and females, LH is responsible for working with the endocrine cells in the gonads to produce androgens.  

When there are low levels of LH in the body, it causes infertility. This is because there will be insufficient levels of the compound that stimulates the production of sperm in males and the release of eggs during the ovulation process in women.  

Immunosuppressants

Immunosuppressants are drugs that are used in the treatment of some autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Although they’re frequently prescribed for young people, long-term use of immunosuppressants can have detrimental effects on fertility and pregnancy outcomes. When used during pregnancy, they can also bring about adverse effects on the unborn child, and it has also been reported that male fertility can be impaired. 

Cannabis

Many people have used marijuana or cannabis for relaxation and alleviation of pain. However, some researchers suggest that marijuana can negatively affect male and female fertility. For women, smoking cannabis may decrease libido, and in males, sexual dysfunction can result. 

Summary

Drug addiction doesn’t only include addiction to illegal drugs like marijuana but also addiction and abuse of drugs like anabolic steroids and testosterone. Long-term use of prescription drugs like immunosuppressants can also have adverse effects on fertility. Drug use doesn’t only affect mental health but fertility in both men and women.  

If you’re trying to conceive, it’s best to stay away from these drugs. To increase the chances of conception, you should lead a healthy lifestyle and track female ovulation cycles. If there are other underlying problems, it’s best to consult a fertility doctor to discuss the matter.  

Categories: Drugs
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