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Does Long-time Alcohol Consumption Affect the Quality of Sperm During the Preconception Period?

Successful pregnancy requires the combination of excellent sperm and eggs. Men have a greater responsibility during preconception. With the accelerated pace of society, many prospective fathers often struggle with performance issues. Whether there is an excess or shortage of sperm, it will affect their reproductive plans.

alcohol can affect semen

Long-term heavy alcohol consumption may impact fertility, while occasional moderate drinking has minimal effect on preconception. The effects of long-term heavy drinking on fertility include influencing sexual activity and sperm quality. Excessive alcohol consumption can poison reproductive organs such as the testes, decreasing testosterone levels. It can also harm the liver, causing abnormal liver function, reducing the deactivation of estrogen, and resulting in the accumulation of estrogen in the body. This accumulation counteracts the effects of testosterone, affecting male sexual activity.

Conception requires the meeting and combination of male sperm and female eggs, a process in which sperm releases an enzyme to dissolve the outer membrane of the egg. Excessive estrogen in males can cause sperm to prematurely release acrosomal enzymes before encountering the egg. As a result, when needed, no acrosomal enzymes are available to break down the egg's outer membrane, impacting fertility.

Alcoholic beverages can accelerate the excretion of zinc. Men who frequently indulge in alcohol often lack the essential trace element zinc, crucial for maintaining a healthy prostate and sperm motility. For men, moderate alcohol consumption is reasonable as it can help alleviate fatigue, relax tension, relieve anxiety, and sometimes enhance sexual performance to some extent without adverse effects on fertility and overall health.

However, men need to understand and determine the appropriate limits based on their circumstances. Moderate alcohol consumption has minimal impact on preconceptions. If there are concerns, it is advisable to wait for at least three months before attempting conception.

How to take care of sperm?

1. Supplement with folic acid

This is because when there are non-diploid sperm in the body, it can lead to infertility, and increasing the intake of folic acid can reduce the proportion of sperm with chromosomal abnormalities. Therefore, it is recommended for preconception men to consume 400 micrograms or more of folic acid per day.

2. Maintain regular exercise

Male exercise should be based on individual circumstances, avoiding excessive physical exertion. Intense exercise can elevate the temperature of the testicles, causing damage to sperm. It is recommended to choose activities like swimming, playing sports, or doing moderate-level workouts for 30-45 minutes each day.

3. Avoid high-temperature environments

During preconception, men should avoid wearing tight-fitting pants and avoid staying in high-temperature environments. Additionally, controlling body weight is important because excessive obesity can lead to increased temperature in the groin area, which impairs sperm growth and can result in infertility.

4. Supplement with high-quality protein

Reasonably supplementing foods rich in high-quality protein is beneficial for regulating the endocrine function of prospective fathers and improving the quantity and quality of sperm. However, excessive intake should be avoided; adding an appropriate amount to a balanced diet is sufficient.

5. Be cautious about the impact of sexual abstinence on sperm quality

Some couples believe that abstaining from sexual activity can increase the chances of pregnancy. In reality, this practice is not scientifically supported. For men with low sperm counts, abstaining for a prolonged period may increase semen volume but a decline in sperm quality.

In men with already poor sperm quality and motility, prolonged sexual abstinence will not increase sperm count. On the contrary, it may increase the proportion of abnormal sperm and significantly decrease sperm vitality, which is detrimental to conception and reproductive health.

Long-term alcohol consumption has a significant impact on sperm quality. Continuous alcohol consumption can lead to high rates of sperm abnormalities and poor motility, thereby affecting fertilization and the potential for later development. Prolonged drinking and smoking can also increase the risk of fetal abnormalities.

Recommended Readings:

To Drink or Not to Drink: Alcohol Consumption for Patients with Cystitis Glandularis

Does Alcohol Cause Testicular Atrophy?

Preparing for Pregnancy is not Just a Woman's Issue: Infertility is Related to Men!

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