No one likes to hear that they need to lose the weight, but what if it meant your fertility? You may think “what is the point in losing all that weight just to gain it back during pregnancy?” Well, the simple truth is that the extra weight you are carrying could be preventing you from getting pregnant at all. Being overweight or even obese can impact both male and female fertility in a negative way. I would like to take a look at the ways that extra fat can be a factor in infertility.
Estrogen plays a very important role in the female reproductive system. Estrogen actually refers to three chemically similar hormones: estrone, estradiol, and estriol. However, the primary hormones in women of reproductive age are estrone and estradiol. Estrogen is produced mainly in the ovaries, but over 30 percent is produced by fat. So are overweight, you are likely to produce more estrogen and too much estrogen isn’t good for fertility.
Excessive estrogen can cause irregular periods and prevent ovulation. Two things that are very important when you are trying to conceive. Women with PCOS tend to have higher levels of estrogen which is one of the reasons why it can be difficult for them to conceive. So it important to check your BMI and find out where you should be and as always, speak with your physician.
What if I’m over weight and have regular periods? Does that mean I am okay? Well, unfortunately it doesn’t. According to a study of 52 patients in 2014, 32 percent of them loss more than ten percent of their body weight. That 32 percent had a higher conception rate than those that didn’t. 88 percent versus 54 percent. In another study of obese anovulatory women, even losing as little as five percent of their body weight improved chances of ovulation and conceiving. So maybe losing weight isn’t such a bad idea after all!
Low Sperm Count
Unfortunately men, you are not in the clear! Being overweight affects your fertility too! In my post What Is A Semen Analysis, I gave examples of what could preserve sperm health and losing weight wasn’t one of them. It wasn’t until I was watching the Today Show on July 27th 2017, that they were doing a special on the Fertility Mystery. Well, there was a study preformed covering men from the years of 1973 to 2011 showing that the sperm count has declined by 50% and shows no signs of rising! One of the reasons for this was said to be due to obesity rates and over weight men. So I decided to look into it!
Both males and females produce estrogen. In males it is a smaller amount. Since we now know that estrogen is also produced in fat cells, obese males also produce more estrogen. This increase in estrogen can have a negative effect on the sperm. According to a website I reviewed, excess weight may even be correlated with high body temperature which could also impact sperm count negatively. As we know from my earlier posts, it is important that the testicles cool. So higher body temperatures can definitely decrease sperm count!
While no one really likes to be told to lose the weight, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Doing little things can make a big difference when it comes to your fertility. If exercise isn’t your thing, doing simple dietary changes can help you on your journey to conceive. Besides, maintaining a healthy diet will be very important during pregnancy. It will become even more significant when it is time to teach your children how to eat healthy. So getting in the habit of healthy eating now will give you something to stand on when your soon to come child tells you he or she doesn’t like broccoli or spinach (which they will). Just think, you will be able to set the perfect example!