Effect of chronic alcoholism on male fertility hormones and semen quality

Fertil Steril. 2005 Oct;84(4):919-24. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.04.025.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / blood*
  • Alcoholism / pathology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / blood
  • Infertility, Male / pathology
  • Male
  • Semen / cytology*
  • Semen / metabolism*


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones