Alcoholism among young women linked to delayed childbearingAugust 21st, 2008 - 12:09 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Aug 21 (IANS) Alcohol use during teen years can lead to a host of problems like risky sexual behaviour and a greater risk of delayed reproduction. An examination of the link between a history of alcohol dependence (AD) and timing of first childbirth has found that AD is associated with delayed reproduction.
“Reproductive dysfunctions include a range of menstrual disorders, sexual dysfunctions, and pregnancy complications that include spontaneous abortion or miscarriage,” explained Mary Waldron, assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine and co-author of the study.
“Teenagers who drink tend to have disruptions in their menstrual cycle as well as unplanned pregnancies,” she said.
These complications may become more pronounced with time, added Sharon C. Wilsnack, a neuroscience professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
“Higher rates of reproductive dysfunction in adult women may reflect the cumulative effects of longer exposure to alcohol for older women than for female adolescents,” she said.
Waldron and colleagues analysed data gathered from two groups of Australian twins born between 1893-1964 (3,634 female and 1,880 male twins) and 1964-1971 (3,381 female and 2,748 male twins).
Control variables included socio-demographic characteristics, regular smoking, history of psychopathology, and family and childhood risks.
Results indicate delayed reproductive onset among alcoholic women in both groups, with little or no effect observed among men.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine alcohol’s effects on reproductive onset across reproductive development,” said Waldron.
“Most previous research has examined risks to teens or adults but not both. Our findings highlight a risk associated with AD in women that is not widely recognised - a risk that has assumed increasing importance given the increased rates of alcohol misuse by women and particularly young women.”
These results will appear in the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.