Obesity is a disease caused due to excess fat distribution in the body. It takes a toll on the body and leads to a lot of diseases.
In fact, obesity puts you at risk of Diabetes, Heart attack, Stroke, and Cancer to name a few. But an underrated side effect includes infertility due to hormonal imbalances caused by massive weight gain.
This article will help you understand the relationship between your weight and reproductive health. CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) data suggest that over 40.4% of American women are obese versus only 35% of American men.
Obesity & Women
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), obesity is the cause of reproductive problems in 6% of women who have never been pregnant before.
- Obesity influences the way sex hormones are stored and processed in a woman’s body. Fat cells are known to alter the metabolism and processing of many sex hormones which can affect your reproductive health.
Reproductive Health problems:
In Women, PCOS, menstrual cycle irregularities, and infertility are linked to excess weight.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder found in 30-70% of obese women of reproductive age and is associated with irregular periods, excessive hair, and risk of infertility.
- A study reported that the risk of miscarriage increases in overweight women.
- Lower pregnancy rates in women (than women with normal weight) due to disorders (thyroid disease, insulin resistance, and diabetes) secondary to obesity.
- Obesity increases the risk of complications during pregnancy putting both the mother and child at risk.
- Obese women might stop ovulating altogether because of the faulty metabolism of the signaling hormones due to excess fat.
Obesity & Men
According to research, obese men are more likely to have low or nonexistent sperm counts.
- Obesity can cause an increase in body temperature, particularly around the scrotum.
- Hormonal abnormalities are also a possibility. (Obese males have increased estrogen levels and lower levels of the sperm-producing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and testosterone).
Reproductive health problems:
Men who are obese are more prone to have the following issues with fertility, like
- Loss of sex drive
- Low sperm counts
- Decreased sperm motility
- Muscle weakness
- Erectile dysfunctions
- Mood changes
What Can I do?
A healthy weight is sometimes the first step to treating fertility issues. Losing weight isn’t always as simple as modifying your diet and exercising. If nothing has helped, you may wish to discuss bariatric surgery with your doctor.
- Do you weigh more than 100 pounds more than your desired weight?
- Do you have problems related to your weight, such as high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes?
- Has nothing worked for you when it comes to weight loss?
If obesity is the root of your fertility issues, you should address it before beginning or continuing fertility treatments. Consult your doctor about how your body weight may be affecting your health.
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