Obesity affects millions of people globally, especially men, women, and children. It has been said to have affected pregnant women more.
The Body Mass Index (BMI), which measures how much body fat a person has, is used to describe obesity. According to polls and research, at least one in four women is overweight. The rates are higher among women who are having trouble becoming pregnant.
Social, psychological, environmental, and health-related issues are the culprits of obesity. Being overweight causes some cancers, especially endometrial, breast, and colon cancers. It also increases the risks of diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and osteoarthritis.
Especially for women, obesity has a significant impact on reproductive problems. It has been linked to anovulation, irregular periods, infertility, problems with assisted reproduction, miscarriage, and poor pregnancy outcomes.
What causes obesity?
Body mass index (BMI) is a formula that calculates an individual’s weight and height to determine their body size. Obesity in adults is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) as having a BMI of 30 or above.
You can become obese if you consume more calories than you do regular exercise and everyday activities.
The excess calories build up over time and eventually lead to weight growth. However, it’s not always about how many calories you consume or how active you are.
Apart from these, there are other factors that are out of your control. Some specific factors contributing to obesity include;
Studies have shown that people with a genetic predisposition to obesity tend to gain weight more easily than those without the predisposition.
Genetic factors may be responsible for about 30% of the body mass index (BMI) variation. Obesity can also cause infertility by increasing the risk for the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is one of the most common causes of female infertility
As we age, we’re more likely to become obese, which can cause infertility.
Aging causes a decrease in the hormone levels that affect our metabolism. This leads to a decrease in insulin sensitivity and an increase in blood sugar levels, which can cause obesity.
Obesity has been shown to contribute to infertility by causing hormonal changes and impairing ovulation
Not getting enough sleep
It turns out that insufficient sleep can also contribute to infertility. It’s thought that lack of sleep affects testosterone levels, which in turn contributes to low sperm counts and reduced sperm motility in men.
In women, it can affect follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels which are responsible for ovulation. This can result in hormonal changes that increase your appetite and makes you seek specific meals that can lead to weight increase.
Pregnancy can cause obesity, infertility, and other health issues in women. This is due to the fact that during pregnancy the body has to undergo many changes and adapt to a new lifestyle. These changes can be very stressful for some women and cause them to gain weight.
Obesity in men and Infertility
According to research, male infertility and obesity are related. Men also experience the negative effects of weight on fertility, which many people find surprising.
Unfortunately, the rate of obesity is increasing, and many are aware that being overweight can severely impact their general health. It’ll be difficult for a couple to conceive if the man is overweight or obese.
Male hormone imbalances affect the stimulation of the testicles, which prevents sperm creation. The male hormone testosterone is turned into estrogen by excess fat, and this estrogen reduces the activity of the testicles.
According to research by Reproductive Biology Associates, low testosterone levels were associated with males with a high body mass index (BMI).
Testosterone levels in overweight men were 24% and 26% lower than in people with a healthy weight.
Also, semen analysis is frequently shown to be irregular in males with high BMIs. This makes sense because the scrotum frequently stays in immediate contact with the body is another issue with obese men.
The temperature of the scrotum will rise as it is in close contact with the body, keeping the sperm at a high temperature. The sperm could be harmed by this temperature.
Obesity in women and Infertility
Numerous studies show that obese women typically have a more complex problem conceiving than women of normal weight. Also, obese women experience a greater risk of pregnancy loss after they get pregnant.
Being overweight has a lot of effects on the success of various forms of pregnancy.
For instance, obesity reduces the success rates of in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to solid research.
A recent study comparing the success rates of 5,800 IVF procedures with the BMI of female participants discovered that obese women with a BMI more than 35 had lower success rates than overweight women with a BMI between 25 and 30.
It was also discovered that obese women had a reduced success rate for embryo implantation (13 percent vs. 19 percent among healthy-weight women). They had a lower chance of getting pregnant with in vitro fertilization (22 percent of obese women became pregnant vs. more than 30 percent of normal-weight women).
With these findings in mind, anyone who is preparing to conceive should do whatever they can to keep their weight in check, especially if they want to use any form of IVF.
Other studies show that obese women have more significant risks of miscarriage and lower conception rates. They are also the ones that are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, pregnancy-induced (gestational)problems, and diabetes (pre-eclampsia).
They are also more likely to give birth by cesarean section. Children of obese women are more likely to experience health problems after birth and have and they could be obese.
It is rather unfortunate that many young women who are diagnosed with PCOS are overweight. Although not all PCOS patients are overweight or obese, many PCOS patients exhibit symptoms of insulin resistance and obesity.
Weight loss and fertility
The research that is now available suggests that there is a beneficial link between weight loss, increased odds of pregnancy, and live births among obese infertile women.
According to the Danish National Birth Cohort of 2,374 women, those who were obese and who dropped or maintained a weight between pregnancies had pregnancy success.
Exercise, yoga, and eating nutritious meals are preferred weight-loss techniques over those involving medicine and surgery.
Losing weight would help control the menstrual cycle, boost the likelihood of natural ovulation and conception, and enhance reproductive results in general.
As ordinary as it may seem, being overweight in both men and women can affect their fertility in diverse ways. It’s crucial to speak with your doctor if you’re thinking about getting pregnant and you are struggling with your weight.
They can provide advice on weight control and assist you in treating any underlying medical concerns.
To assist you in determining the best course of action for starting a family, your doctor could also advise that you speak with a fertility expert or a weight-management specialist.
Be aware that managing your weight may be a difficult and tiring process. But the prospect of having a joyful, healthy pregnancy as a consequence of your efforts is too good to miss.