Sunday, 13 November 2011

Can Obesity affect Fertility?

The question which is commonly asked by women, especially obese women, is that ‘will my obesity affect my fertility?

The answer to that is YES.

Overweight and obesity are the major factors which may affect the fertility of a woman. Certain environmental and hormonal genetic conditions that bring about obesity can cause alteration in ovaries and its ovulation.  Obesity can also hinder smooth flow of blood as well as low production of dopamine.  Estrogen has a major role in impacting the ovulation because excess estrogen is produced due to overweight problem.  In fact, studies have found that the more overweight a women is, the less are  her chances of becoming pregnant and higher the risk of obstetric complications.  The main problems that arise due to overweight or obesity are ovulation disorders, lower quality of embryos and deficiency of tuteal phase.

Losing weight can bring about an increase in conception levels as well as reduce the risk of other disorders during pregnancy.  As such it is always necessary that your weight stays in the recommended criteria during conception i.e. neither too much increase in weight or underweight.  The excess production of estrogen due to obesity may cause hormonal imbalance which in turns affects ovulation.  Being overweight can also disrupt the regular monthly cycle which is a very dangerous trend for a women during pregnancy.

For overcoming these problems that are mentioned above, a systematic and regular exercise schedule should be carried out.  For this, help can be received from health care provider and a nutritional expert.  A closely monitored program will help in getting the body ready for childbirth.

Another effect of obesity on pregnancy and fertility is the increase in insulin.  A women having BMI of 25-30 kg/m2 will have a 50% chance of having a novulatory infertility but this is increase by 300% if this rate goes above 30 kg/m2.

The case of obesity and infertility is also related not only to women, but also in men.  Obesity in men can also bring down the sperm count to less than 50%.  This may result in reduction of conception rate.  Another result of obesity in men is that the level of testrogen is reduced and converted to oestrogen in the fat tissue.  This oestrogen creates a negative impact on reducing the FSH hormone which is a major ingredient in the production of sperm.  Obese men also have problems of erection.  Another feature of obesity in men is the damage of DNA integrity.  This may eventually lead to cases of miscarriage in women.

The other main disadvantages of obesity on women during pregnancy are –
·        Obesity brings about lower response to medication to regulate ovulation.
·        In cases where the patient has polycystic ovaries (PCO), the medication should be carefully administered.
·        Complexity in IVF cycles may result in fewer egg retrieval, excessive bleeding, difficulty in embryo transfer and lower embryo implantation rates.
·        It is also found that obesity may result in requiring caesarean operations in almost 50% of the cases.

Thus, it can be summarized that obesity plays a very important part in the process of infertility and as such steps should be taken to reduce weight during pregnancy so as to reduce the risk of complications and miscarriage. 

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