(HealthDay News) — The more alcohol young men drink, the lower their sperm count and quality may be, according to a study published October 2 in BMJ Open. In addition, high alcohol consumption was linked to a higher risk of contracting human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a study published October 2 in Sexually Transmitted Infections.
The first study involved 1,221 Danish men between the ages of 18–28. They filled out questionnaires about their drinking, provided a semen sample, and had their blood drawn. The researchers found that sperm concentration, total sperm count, and percentage of normal sperm were all poorer among men having ≥5 units of alcohol a week. The amount of testosterone measured in the men’s blood, however, increased as their alcohol intake increased. The drop in sperm count and quality became particularly significant among men consuming ≥25 units of alcohol a week. Those drinking ≥40 units a week had a 33% lower sperm concentration than those consuming 1–5 units a week.
The second study included 1,313 American men. The researchers found that those who drank the most alcohol (≥10 grams a day) were 13% more likely to have any HPV type and 35% more likely to have a cancer-related HPV type, compared to those drinking the least amount of alcohol (<0.1 gram per day). Even after the researchers took into account the number of sex partners the men had and whether they smoked – another risk factor for HPV-associated cancers – the study still found an link between alcohol consumption and HPV infection.
“Many men are quiet drinkers who don’t realize that this may affect them as they drink a lot more than they admit to,” Michael Heard, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist and reproductive endocrinologist at The Heard Clinic and Houston Methodist Hospital told HealthDay.