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Home » Female Infertility » Obesity and Infertility

Obesity and Infertility

Long-term studies show that there is a direct link between obesity and infertility. Not only do women who are overweight have problems conceiving naturally.

They also have lower success rates when it comes to in vitro fertilization. One reason that overweight women have problems with fertility issues is that they are more likely to experience irregularity in their menstrual cycles, which then leads to problems with ovulation.

Another reason for this is that obese women seem to have more abnormalities in their eggs which make these eggs more difficult, if not impossible to fertilize.

The cycle of obesity linked to infertility can be a vicious one. The more you’re trying to conceive and finding that you’re still not pregnant, the more depressed and stressed you’ll become, leading to even more unhealthy eating habits.

Obesity and Infertility

Reproduction, Obesity and Infertility

While researchers don’t yet have a clear understanding of why obesity can cause structural problems in eggs, they do believe it lies in the presence of higher hormone levels such as Leptin.

Leptin is a hormone that regulates not only your appetite but how much energy your body expends. Both of these factors play a role in the successful fertilization of your eggs.

If you’re experiencing infertility problems and are overweight, there could be a direct connection to your infertility issues.

By losing weight you increase your chances of becoming pregnant as well as increase your success rate if you’re undergoing in vitro fertilization or other infertility treatments.

The more excess body fat you have, the more problems you may have getting pregnant. While there have been very few studies done on male obesity and infertility, there is some indication that obesity in males has an effect on estrogen levels.

Higher estrogen levels then lead to lower testosterone levels which in turn can lead to a lower sperm count.

What Defines Obesity?

Obesity is defined when your BMI (body mass index) is higher than 30. Obesity is a condition where the buildup of body fat in an individual is to such an extent where health is compromised in negative ways.

Obesity is of major concern in North America and places a huge strain on health care structures. In most cases, obesity is not caused by one single aspect but is instead a combination of factors.

An individual’s genetics play a large role in obesity but this alone isn’t a factor of whether or not someone is obese or not. Environment and behavior also have a lot to do with whether or not someone is suffering from obesity.

Psychologically, obesity can be very damaging to a woman’s self-esteem and how she feels about her body.

Health Conditions Lead to Infertility

There are many different health conditions that are caused by obesity such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Obesity also affects fertility in both women and men, contributing not only to sexual dysfunction but also to problems with ovulation.

When there is an excess amount of fat in the abdominal region, there is a significant change in the body’s sex hormones.

These sex hormones are believed to be responsible for changes in fertility. Many obese women have a condition that is called amenorrhoea.

Amenorrhoea is when there is an absence of menstrual periods which influences whether or not a woman ovulates or not. Obesity can also cause an increase in insulin resistance and insulin production.

Insulin plays an important role in the regulation of the body’s sex hormones.

When there is any disruption to a woman’s menstrual cycle or ovarian activity there is the chance of experiencing fertility problems.  

Does Losing Weight Cure Obesity and Infertility?

If you’re significantly overweight and having problems conceiving, the good news is that losing weight is the first step in fertility treatment.

Just losing 5 to 10 per cent of your body fat can drastically improve your ovulation cycle and increase your chances of getting pregnant.

By making some changes in your lifestyle you’ll not only be able to lose weight, but you’ll also increase the chances that you’ll be able to conceive naturally.

Eat a balanced diet that provides your body with all the nutrition you need and as well take some nutritional supplements such as calcium and Vitamin D.

You need to be healthy if you want to conceive and this means that your body requires certain nutrients.

As well, your partner’s sperm will function normally if your partner’s nutritional health is at its optimum.

Some studies indicate that women who eat foods that are high in Trans fat, carbohydrates, and animal proteins have more difficulty getting pregnant.

Focus on foods that provide you with the best nutritional value such as vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, beans, and dairy products.

Not only will optimum nutrition help you lose weight and fight the cycle of obesity and infertility, but you’ll also be on the right track to the healthy eating that you’ll need to concentrate on when you’re pregnant.

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