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Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

Tobacco, Marijuana, and Other Drugs

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Toxic effects related to tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs

Smoking may cause infertility in both men and women. In experimental animals, nicotine has been shown to block the production of sperm and decrease the size of male testicles. In women, tobacco changes the cervical mucus, thus affecting the way sperm reach the egg.

Marijuana may disrupt a woman's ovulation cycle, affecting the release of the egg. In men, marijuana use can decrease the sperm count as well as affect the quality of the sperm.

Heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine use induces similar effects but places the user at increased risk for PID and HIV infection associated with risky sexual behavior.

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Irregular Periods and Getting Pregnant

Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for 30% to 40% of all cases of infertility. Having irregular periods, no periods, or abnormal bleeding often indicates that you aren't ovulating, a condition known clinically as anovulation. Although anovulation can usually be treated with fertility drugs, it is important to be evaluated for other conditions that could interfere with ovulation, such as thyroid conditions or abnormalities of the adrenal or pituitary glands.

Read the Irregular Periods and Getting Pregnant article > >

In women, the effects of alcohol are related to severe consequences for the fetus. And chronic alcoholism is related to disorders in ovulation, which interferes with fertility. Alcohol use by men interferes with the synthesis of testosterone and has an impact on sperm concentration. Alcoholism may delay a man's sexual response and cause impotence by interfering with a man's ability to have an erection.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 06, 2014

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