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The Ugly Truth About Cocaine: It's Messing Up Your Fertility
July 20, 2018
Our reproductive systems are amazing but complex structures that can be thrown off by the smallest thing. For example, eating too much soy for both men and women can cause infertility. If something as minor as eating a food with too much estrogen can affect fertility, can you image what impact dangerous habits, such as using cocaine, have on our ability to reproduce? Cocaine effects fertility in both men and women- not only that, but it can cause serious issues for your baby if you do end up conceiving while using the drug. This is a heavy but necessary topic, so let’s flesh it out a little bit more….
In men, cocaine attacks sperm quality and count. The use of cocaine can drastically lower a man’s sperm count.The quality and mobility of those sperms will be extremely low, and some won’t even make it through the cervical mucus. If conception does happen, it’s possible for the drug to pass through the sperm to the egg after fertilization, which heightens the chance of a miscarriage.
In addition to affect sperm count, cocaine can result in sexual dysfunction in men. An article published by The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality cites a 1988 study that found that 66% of regular cocaine users report erectile dysfunctions. Another study done that same year indicates that 62% of men who were addicted to both alcohol and cocaine report a low sex drive and 52% report erectile dysfunction.
Cocaine’s Effect on Pregnancy
Cocaine lowers fertility and lessens the chance of getting pregnant, but it still is possible to conceive while using the drug. Unfortunately, it causes some serious pregnancy and birth complications.
According to March of Dimes, placental abruption is “a serious condition in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth.” The placenta is a crucial organ during pregnancy: it’s where the baby receives oxygen and nutrients from the mother. This condition results in heavy bleeding, and it can be fatal to both the baby and the mom.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a condition in which a baby is born already addicted to drugs. This is due to the mother being addicted while pregnant. This leads to babies going through withdrawal after they are born, and unfortunately, NAS is a rising problem in the United States. 22,000 babies were born drug dependent (that equals out to one every 25 minutes) in 2012, and although mostly due to opioids, more and more babies are being exposed to other drugs, such as cocaine.
Cocaine will also have an effect on breastmilk, which is extremely dangerous if you are breastfeeding a baby. The drug takes a long time to metabolize and completely get out of the body, and it’s more concentrated in a mother’s breast milk than in her blood. Even after a woman stops feeling the effects of cocaine, it’s still in her system and is being passed on to her baby, who is even more sensitive to the drug.
Other Pregnancy Complications
The use of cocaine during pregnancy can also result in premature births, low birth weights, and miscarriages.
Have a Drug Problem? Here’s Some Help
If you have a problem with substance abuse, especially if you are looking to conceive, talk to a healthcare professional. They will be able to provide you with the resources necessary to kick the habit and start a new, healthy lifestyle that will not only give you peace and stability within your life, but will give that to your future baby, too.
If you can’t talk to a doctor and would rather call a hotline, here are some great resources for you that will provide caring, professional information that is noninvasive and anonymous.
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD)
NCADD will “will provide information, help you to assess your situation and, if indicated, work with you to refer you to the most appropriate resources in your community.” They also offer a range of services that will help you find local resources, learn more about drug addiction, and celebrate sobriety.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator can be reached by calling the number above or by entering your location on their website. It is “a confidential and anonymous source of information for persons seeking treatment facilities in the United States or U.S. Territories for substance abuse/addiction and/or mental health problems.”
In addition to these two organizations, DrugAbuse.com offers some resources as far as what to expect when you call a hotline, what questions to ask, as well as a list of more resources to contact, including suicide prevention helplines and a crisis text line. The information is tailored to cocaine addiction.
To sum everything up, the use of cocaine has extensive effects on fertility in both men and women. Not only that, but if you do get pregnant while on the drug there could be some serious implications for your baby. If you have a cocaine problem and are looking to get pregnant, reach out to a medical doctor or an addiction hotline. They are there to help you and connect you to resources that can start you on your path to a clean, healthy life for both you and your baby.
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