Fat and Fertility: The Intrinsic Connection

May 25, 2022
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If obesity were a stop sign, perhaps people would take it more seriously. Perhaps they would slow down, look up and take notice. Then, maybe they'd do a U-turn.

While obesity comes with enough warnings and physical symptoms and signs, all too often, it is brushed off as merely a cosmetic problem. In reality, obesity comes with a clutch of byproducts, with physical appearance being the only visible manifestation. It increases the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, and joint and back problems. Along with inviting all of these unwelcome conditions, it also strikes at fertility, decreasing your chances of conceiving naturally.

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The Impact of Obesity

Obesity can wreak havoc on your body's natural hormonal composition, increasing the chances of the polycystic ovarian syndrome and leading to infertility. Obese mothers also face an increased risk of complications and health problems during pregnancy, including hypertension, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, blood clotting, stillbirth, infection and a need for induction of labour.

Babies of obese mothers are more likely to become obese themselves as adults and to have more health problems than babies born to mothers in the normal weight range. Overall, obese women face a greater challenge in getting and staying pregnant.

How Obesity Affects Fertility

Obesity Impedes Hormonal Function

A BMI that is higher than 29.9 is reflective of obesity and can impact hormonal function. Fertility is always a product of the hormonal equilibrium, and when this is skewed, it can compromise fertility and reduce the chances of conception.

Obesity Impacts Insulin Resistance

Obesity can cause seesawing hormones, which in turn, can result in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is one of the leading causes of diabetes, but it can also reduce fertility and cause an irregularity in menstrual cycles. Sometimes, insulin resistance can also lead to anovulation, a condition where the body stops maturing and releasing an egg every month.

Obesity Can Affect Conception

Hormonal imbalances, ovulatory dysfunction and poor quality eggs as a result of obesity can make natural and assisted conception a challenge. These factors also increase the chances of a miscarriage.

Obesity Can Impact Male or Female Fertility

Obesity affects fertility in both men and women. In men, obesity can lower testosterone levels, which can lead to infertility. Also, erectile dysfunction is a more common phenomenon among obese men.

Obesity is a condition that can be tackled, head-on. Losing weight can make a tremendous difference in your or your partner's fertility, restoring the hormonal equilibrium and diminishing the ancillary effects of obesity. Regular exercise, smaller portions and healthier meals are a good place to start.

If you are still exploring ways to embrace a healthier, leaner lifestyle, it is always wise to weigh in with a nutritionist to determine a customised meal plan that is sustainable. Shed all the unwanted layers of obesity and recover your fertility in a natural way.