It is common knowledge that obesity leads to poor health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and respiratory issues, but are you aware that it also affects reproductive health? Well, research reveals that obese persons may take up to almost 60% longer to get children when compared to persons with normal weight ranges. This affects both obese men and women. Obesity can be simply defined as having an extremely high Body Mass Index, where the index reflects the how much body fat you have. Currently, a significant part of the population suffers from obesity or is at risk of becoming obese.
Obesity and fertility
Obese men and fertility
When obese you have a high body fat content, which causes hormone irregularities. The excess fat causes testosterone, the essential male hormone, to convert to estrogen and this affects the stimulation of the testicles and further inhibits the production of sperms. As a result, most obese men will have a low sperm count and quality.
With the increased weight and reduced testosterone levels, there is also the risk of developing erectile dysfunction and low libido. All these factors reduce chances of conceiving a child, regardless of the female’s weight. It was also established that obesity diminishes the success of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like IVF by negatively affecting the health and viability of embryos conceived.
Obese women and fertility
In women, obesity also interferes with several functions of the body that would allow for natural conception. A common risk of infertility among women is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is associated with obesity and other symptoms such as high cholesterol and high male hormone presence. PCOS leads to anovulation, where the woman fails to produce an egg from each ovary every month. If an obese woman manages to conceive, there is the risk of complications in the pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia or eclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Infertility problems in obese women are mainly due to hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance that comes with the condition. Therefore, even in the event of conception occurring, a miscarriage will always be a risk probably due to poor quality eggs or ovum, improper implantation or alteration in the levels of hormones that help support pregnancy. Studies also reveal that obesity is responsible for the failure of assisted reproductive techniques.
Weighing more than you should put, will place a toll on your body, hindering it from properly carrying out its functions. Therefore, before trying to conceive, make sure that you have the correct BMI to support conception as well as a viable and healthy offspring. Changing your lifestyle and investing more time in weight loss is the first step towards ensuring that your reproductive and general health is in good shape. Considering that obesity and infertility affect both men and women, it takes the commitment of both parties to eliminate any complication right from conception to after the birth of a child. It is advisable to consult with your doctor if you are or think you are obese and discuss the best course of action to help you attain a healthy weight and after that conceive.