That alcohol is the culprit in many of the illnesses affecting man was generally known. It has now emerged that addiction to alcohol can adversely affect sex life and the sperm quality in healthy men as well.
A new study by Indian scientists led by Biochemist Koonakapalyam Ramasami Muthusami in Coimbatore has found that chronic alcoholism decreases the level of testosterone in men. Testosterone is the male sex hormone that is responsible for the maintenance of a healthy sex drive and erection frequency. Muthusami's study shows that a high consumption of alcohol can impact semen volume; sperm count as well as the proportion of sperm present in a given volume of semen.
The Coimbatore study tracked 1,800 alcoholics and selected 66 non-smokers among them who had no other complaints. These men drank 180 ml alcohol five times a week for 11 years before seeking de-addiction therapy. The researchers compared semen samples of these 66 men with 30 healthy men with no smoking or drinking habits. The findings of the study showed that chronic alcoholics had reduced levels of testosterone. Around 60 per cent had erectile dysfunction as compared to 10 percent among non-drinkers. "This study looked for exclusive and direct toxic effects of chronic alcoholism on the male reproductive system," said Muthusami, a senior scientist at the Institute of Laboratory Medicine at the Kovai Medical Centre in Coimbatore. "These were highly addicted alcoholics. They couldn't do without their drinks. Some of them had taken alcohol every single day for several years. Fortunately, most drinkers do not have such habits."
The details of the study can be found in the latest issue of the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.