Objective: To evaluate the effects of chronic alcoholism on the male fertility hormones and quality of semen.
Design: Non-probability purposive clinical study.
Setting: Addiction treatment center and an academic research environment.
Patient(s): Sixty-six alcoholics free from smoking and drug abuse who consumed a minimum of 180 mL of alcohol per day (brandy and whisky, both 40%-50% alcohol content) for a minimum of 5 days per week for > or =1 year were included. Thirty nonsmoking nonalcoholics were selected as controls.
Intervention(s): Before starting the addiction treatment for alcoholics, venous blood and semen samples were collected.
Main outcome measure(s): Complete blood counts, biochemical parameters, levels of the male fertility hormones FSH, LH, T, PRL, P, and E2 in blood, and semen parameters.
Result(s): In alcoholics, FSH, LH, and E2 levels were significantly increased, and T and P levels were significantly decreased. No significant change was noted in PRL levels. Semen volume, sperm count, motility, and number of morphologically normal sperm were significantly decreased.
Conclusion(s): Chronic alcohol consumption has a detrimental effect on male reproductive hormones and on semen quality.