Alcohol Dependence Delays Childbearing
Reported August 25, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Women with alcohol dependence (AD) may end up having fertility problems.
A new study from Washington University School of Medicine finds alcohol use in both teenage and adult females can cause reproductive dysfunctions. AD in women is associated with delayed reproduction. Reproductive dysfunctions include menstrual disorders, sexual dysfunctions, and pregnancy complications including spontaneous abortion or miscarriage.
The report analyzed data on two groups of Australian twins born between 1893-1964 (3,634 female and 1,880 male twins) and 1964-1971 (3,381 female and 2,748 male twins). They found alcoholic women in both groups had delayed reproduction. There was little to no effect in the men.
Researchers say the difference may be because women reach higher blood alcohol concentrations than men while drinking similar amounts of alcohol. This may contribute to a stronger link between drinking and reproductive problems in women. It may also be that there is more research on the negative effects of alcohol use on female reproduction than on the effects on male reproduction.
Young women who drink alcohol may want to consider the longer-term consequences for later childbearing, study author, Mary Waldron, Washington University School of Medicine, was quoted as saying. If drinking continues or increases to levels of problem use, their ability and/or opportunity to have children may be impaired.
Researchers also say the findings should be a warning to women who already have reproductive problems not to use alcohol to cope. They say alcohol would probably make the reproductive problems worse as well as risk alcohol abuse or dependence.
SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, published online August 20, 2008