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Home » Lifestyle & Infertility » Obesity and Male Infertility

Obesity and Male Infertility

Male obesity infertility rates are rising all the time and there is a wide range of reasons for this. While male infertility causes are due to structural problems while other causes may be genetic defects and illness.

Obesity is becoming more and more of a threat to overall good health.

Extra body fat can cause hormone imbalances in men which can then adversely affect fertility. Since obesity can affect the entire body it stands to reason that sperm quality and sperm production will be impacted as well.

But just how does obesity lead to male infertility problems?

obesity infertility

Normal Weight and Male Fertility

Numerous studies show that men who have a high BMI (body mass index) have a higher risk of being infertile than men who are at their ideal weight.

In fact, just weighing 20 lbs. more than your ideal weight can increase your chances of male infertility by about 10 percent.

BMI is a tool that is used to measure your weight in proportion to your height and also helps to determine how much body fat you have.

Some men who have a lot of muscle mass may have higher BMI for the simple reason that muscle weighs more than fat. A normal BMI for adults is anywhere from 18.5 to 24.9. A BMI of over 25 is determined as being overweight.

Obesity is categorized when the BMI is over 30 with morbid obesity being defined as a BMI over 40. The higher the BMI is for a man the more at risk he is for infertility problems.

Male Obesity and Healthy Sperm

Studies have been done that directly link sperm health to obesity in men. These studies compared male BMI to DNA disintegration in sperm. The higher the BMI was, the more fragmentation was found in the sperm.

The sperm quality of men whose BMI was over 25 was significantly decreased and even more severe in men whose BMI was over 30. One of the big risks of fragmented sperm DNA is that there is an increased risk of early miscarriage.

When you and your partner are having difficulties getting pregnant, your doctor will most likely undergo tests to determine the cause of your infertility.

With more and more studies being done linking male obesity to defective sperm, your doctor may first decide to address this issue before scheduling you for more intensive and invasive testing.

Addressing your weight may just boost your fertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant before you need to look for further answers.

Male Obesity and Risk of Miscarriage

According to some studies, obesity can lower a man’s sperm count far below the number that is needed to fertilize an egg. If fertilization happens, there is an even greater risk of miscarriage due to the substandard quality of the sperm.

Even though the effect of obesity on sperm is very significant these studies showed that even men who are slightly overweight are at risk for low sperm count and the possibility of early miscarriage.

This is an alarming fact of obesity that puts your partner’s pregnancy in jeopardy.

Male Obesity and Type II Diabetes

About 80 percent of obese men will be diagnosed with Type II diabetes. The insulin resistance which occurs in diabetes can also impede normal sperm production and cause a decrease in fertility.

High levels of insulin can inhibit sHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) levels in the liver. When the sHBG is too low this can trigger higher estrogen levels and further lead to male infertility.

It’s more important than ever to lose body fat and manage your weight so that you avoid problems conceiving.

Additional Effects of Obesity on Infertility

Male obesity can have a very negative effect on several different infertility factors. This includes:

  • Low sperm count.
  • Decreased sperm quality.
  • Hormone imbalances.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Higher scrotal temperatures which can damage sperm.

It’s important to focus on your overall health when you and your partner are trying to conceive so that your sperm is in optimum condition.

Male Obesity and Hormone Imbalances

Men who are obese may experience more hormone irregularities than men of normal weight. Hormone abnormalities can decrease sperm production by affecting the stimulation of the testicles.

If the body has too much fat than testosterone, a male hormone, is converted into estrogen. It’s this estrogen that decreases the stimulation of the testicles to produce sperm.

Men who have a BMI over 25 will often have increased levels of testosterone.

Importance of Lowering BMI to Boost Male Fertility

Since obesity is a huge health issue that is linked to both male and female infertility, it’s important that both partners manage their weight.

Losing weight can make a significant difference to your fertility, and once your BMI is lower you may notice an immediate change in your fertility.

Couples who have infertility problems are often able to get pregnant right away once one or the other is able to lower their BMI.

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