Does last week's alcohol intake affect semen quality or reproductive hormones? A cross-sectional study among healthy young Danish men

Reprod Toxicol. 2012 Nov;34(3):457-62. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2012.06.004. Epub 2012 Jun 23.


The association between last 5 days of alcohol intake, semen quality and reproductive hormones was estimated in this cross-sectional study among 347 men. Conventional semen characteristics, DNA fragmentation index and reproductive hormones (testosterone, estradiol, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and inhibin B) were determined. There was a tendency towards lower semen characteristics at higher intake of alcohol past 5 days, albeit with no statistically significant dose-response association. The ratio between free estradiol and free testosterone was higher at higher alcohol intake during the 5 days preceding semen sampling. In conclusion, alcohol intake was associated with impairment of most semen characteristics but without a coherent dose-response pattern. The study indicates an association between recent alcohol intake and a hormonal shift towards higher estradiol/testosterone ratio. The hormonal changes observed may over time, lead to adverse effects on semen quality, but longitudinal studies are needed to study this.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Denmark
  • Estradiol / blood*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Semen / physiology
  • Semen Analysis*
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / analysis
  • Sperm Count
  • Spermatozoa / physiology
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone