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Obesity and Infertility: Is There a Link?

Assist. Prof. Dr. Rubina Farrukh

2 min read

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Obesity is a medical condition in which you have excess body weight. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure that indicates where you stand on the line. It can tell you whether you need to lose weight or gain some pounds to be at a healthy weight according to your height. However, BMI is just one of several tools available to measure obesity, with weight circumference being another widely used option.

Obesity has become a pandemic worldwide, affecting millions of people. Out of every four women, at least one is overweight, and the rate is much higher among couples who are facing difficulty in conceiving a baby.

The Troubles of Conceiving a Child

A couple may struggle in conception due to various reasons. However, the first thing you should do is get rid of stress and negative thoughts. Many people, when they decide to conceive become extremely nervous and anxious when they do not get pregnant within the first or second month. You need to give your body an ample amount of time.

Do not rush in conceiving a child. The more patient you remain, the better the chance of conceiving soon. When you become too nervous, your body may not take it positively.

Experts recommended that if you are unable to conceive after one year of trying, then you should visit a healthcare provider as it may be occurring due to certain underlying health conditions, one of which may be obesity.

The Link Between Obesity and Infertility

Being overweight or obese may affect your chances of conceiving according to research.

Obesity and Female Infertility

Leptin, a hormone produced in fatty tissue is known to be present in higher amounts in women with obesity. This hormonal imbalance in the body may lead to infertility.

According to a study on Body mass index and ovulatory infertility, women having overweight or obesity, with a BMI greater than or equal to 27 have a 3 times higher risk of infertility as compared to women of normal weight.

Obesity can have various adverse effects on your health. It puts you at risk of developing hypertension, heart diseases, breathing problems, diabetes and also raises the chances of infertility. Moreover, obesity can occur with and worsen symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS – a condition in which cysts develop inside your ovaries.

PCOS, if left untreated, can lead to infertility. If you are overweight or obese and have acne on the skin, it can be an indicator of polycystic ovarian syndrome. You should visit your healthcare provider soon if you have any symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

 Obesity can affect the body of a woman by changing the way it stores hormones. Here is how: 

  • Fat cells present in your body convert a male hormone called androstenedione into a female hormone called estrone.
  • Estrone hormone affects the part of the brain that regulates reproductive processes, such as ovarian and testicular function.

This can also impair reproductive functions.

Obesity and Male Infertility

Obesity not only impacts fertility in women but also in men. In men, obesity can affect fertility in the following ways:

  • It can elevate body temperature, especially around the scrotum.
  • It can cause hormonal imbalances. An obese man may have higher estrogen levels and low levels of androgen-producing hormones such as androgen.

These factors can affect the sperm count, their ability to swim, and concentration, thereby making conception difficult.

The Bottom Line

The relation between Obesity and Infertility can be characterized as a vicious cycle. It often happens that women who face difficulty in conception sometimes eat too much out of stress, eventually causing weight gain and obesity, which lowers their chances of conception.

Not just infertility, obesity can harm you in various other ways as well. Therefore, you should aim to reach and maintain a healthy weight as soon as possible. This can be really difficult for many people due to a number of factors other than your motivation. To make the best judgment, you should seek professional help from a Nutritionist or Obesity Specialist on oladoc.com

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Rubina Farrukh - Author Assist. Prof. Dr. Rubina Farrukh is a top Gynaecologist in Lahore with experience of over 13 years. You can book an appointment with her using oladoc.
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