Studies show that heroin and other opioid use impairs sexual health. These impairments are different between men and women because each gender has distinct sexual reproductive systems. Male heroin users often have problems with erections, testosterone and sperm count, while female heroin users generally have problems with ovulation and menstruation (period). In one small scientific study, menstruation stopped in 15 of 29 opiate dependent women, i.e. 52% of them lost their period.
Disruption of ovulation is called Anovulation, which is the failure to ovulate. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovary. The egg typically remains healthy and available for fertilization for about 48 hours. If the egg remains unfertilized, the production of estrogen and progesterone drops off. Ultimately triggering the shedding of the endometrium (lining of the uterus), which indicates the onset of the next menstrual cycle.
Menstruation typically starts about 14-days after the egg is released. As the body sheds the endometrium, it passes through a small opening in the cervix and discharges out through the vaginal canal. The effect of heroin on the menstrual cycle is correlated with the rise and fall of the gonadal steroids.
- Oligomenorrhea: Oligomenorrhea is a condition of infrequent menstrual cycles.
- Amenorrhea: Amenorrhea is the complete cessation of menstrual cycles for months or longer.
Can heroin mess up your period or stop it entirely? These are questions common to female heroin users, because most female heroin addicts have problems with their menstrual cycle.