What Role Does Drug Abuse Play in the Health of the Reproductive System

We’ve heard plenty about drug abuse and its effects on a person’s general health but we rarely think about the effect drugs have on someone’s reproductive health. Just like any other system in the body, the reproductive system can be negatively affected by substance abuse. Both men and women need to understand these effects to make informed decisions about their health.

Drug abuse will affect both sexes differently depending on the individual’s weight, physiology, and hormone levels.

Effect of Drug Abuse on the Female Reproductive System

  • Changes in the menstrual cycle. Drug abuse is known to cause changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle e.g. altering the cycle, lighter or heavier periods or increased cramping. Drugs like heroin can even cause amenorrhea (absence of a period).
  • Increased likelihood of STIs. Intravenous drug use can lead to sexually transmitted infections e.g HPV which can, in turn, harm a woman’s fertility. Additionally, women under the influence of drugs may put themselves in risky situations that increase the risk of STIs.
  • Negative impact on fertility. Drug abuse can harm a woman’s fertility, depending on the drug taken and the amount. Some like tobacco are known to cause delayed fertility and conception.
  • Effect on pregnancy. Women who abuse drugs when pregnant risk harming their unborn children. Some drugs can pass through to the fetus, resulting in birth defects, low birth weight, and premature or stillbirths.

Effect of Drug Abuse on the Male Reproductive System

  • Increased likelihood of STIs and infections. Drugs can lower an individual’s inhibitions, leading them to engage in risky behavior that may increase their chances of contracting STIs. Also sharing needles through intravenous drug use comes with a high risk of hepatitis and other infections.
  • Negative effect on fertility. Drugs such as cocaine and marijuana have been reported to change men’s hormone levels, which in turn affects sperm count and motility. Other drugs such as steroids can interfere with the production and regulation of testosterone in the man’s body.
  • Sexual dysfunction. Drugs that work by suppressing the central nervous system e.g. heroin have been known to cause erectile dysfunction i.e the inability to get and keep an erection, and problems with ejaculation, among others.

Addiction Help is Available

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, it may not be too late to reverse the damage done to their bodies. Seeking help early enough can prevent further damage and increase the chances of recovering from drug abuse. We at Findlay Recovery Center offer drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Ohio. Our addiction counselors and experts can help you deal with the impact addiction has had on your health and help you to start living a better life. Contact us today and get started on reclaiming your life.

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