Almost every day, there are news updates on the intensifying obesity epidemic in the United States. Currently, about 65% of Americans are either overweight or obese – an increase of 25% over the last 30 years – and the numbers continue to climb. Most people know that being overweight raises the risk of almost every major health problem, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. What hasn’t gotten as much attention is the fact that both obesity and being overweight can affect fertility as well.
It is now known that obesity is associated with a general decline in overall fertility, with a significant relationship existing between excess body fat and problems with reproduction. If both partners in a couple are overweight or obese, they are more likely to have to wait longer before successfully conceiving a child, according to new research published online in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, today. Here are some of the facts:
Female Obesity and Fertility
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Problems with ovulation
- Increased androgen levels
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Increased risk of miscarriage
- Decreased success rates with assisted reproductive technologies (ART)
Male Obesity and Fertility
- Increased fat deposits cause both an increase in estrogen and a decrease in testosterone
- Estrogen in men decreases fertility by suppressing hormones necessary for male reproduction
- Obesity can also lead to erectile dysfunction
The good news is that even modest amounts of weight loss can have a positive effect on fertility. Weight loss of as little as 10% to 15% will enhance a woman’s chances of conceiving by normalizing sex hormone levels. So, for instance, a woman who weighs 200 pounds can increase her chances of conception by losing only 20 to 30 pounds.
An important, added weight-loss bonus, is that obstetric complications such as pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes will be reduced. Weight loss is often the first step in fertility treatment when an obese patient seeks help from assisted reproductive technology (ART). Even a loss of 5-10% can significantly improve ovulation and pregnancy rates.
At Calla Slimspa, we receive referrals from fertility specialists because of our rapid results in assisting their patients to achieve the weight loss necessary to greatly improve their chances of having a baby. We hope that you will pass this information on to anyone you know that may benefit from this article!
If you’d like to learn more about how obesity can affect your ability to get pregnant, check out the article ” Genetics’ new frontier: What mom eats, weighs in pregnancy can set a child up for obesity, diabetes ” from the Orlando Sentinel.