What’s the Connection Between Obesity and Infertility?

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Posted: January 28th, 2020
obesity and infertility

Obesity can contribute to infertility in both men and women, but bariatric surgery opens up more options for those looking to start a family. 

Living with obesity can be physically and emotionally challenging. In addition to weight-related health problems like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, many overweight or obese people experience difficulties getting pregnant. 

It’s important to know all of the ways obesity can impact your life so you can make informed decisions about your health, especially your reproductive health. As a BMI of 30 or higher may contribute to infertility in both men and women, bariatric surgery can help you lose weight, improve your health, and increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, obesity causes fertility problems in 6 percent of women who have never been pregnant before. Knowing more about this link, and weight loss surgery options, can help couples realize their dreams of starting a family. 

How Does Obesity Affect Fertility?

In short, obesity can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to insulin resistance. In women, insulin resistance may cause abnormal periods and low egg production. Obese women in general take longer to conceive and are at a higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes like stillbirth, gestational diabetes, and toxemia. 

In men, the hormonal changes caused by obesity can lead to a drop in testosterone and an increase in estrogen, resulting in limited sperm production. What’s more, erectile dysfunction occurs at higher rates in obese men than those who maintain a healthy weight. 

Armed with this knowledge, couples should consider how weight loss factors into their family planning. Ensuring a healthy weight and a healthy baby involves taking recommended supplements, eating well, staying active, and getting checked for high blood pressure and gestational diabetes regularly. For women specifically, it’s important to do all you can to reach a healthy weight before trying to get pregnant, because dieting while pregnant may pose serious risks to the baby. 

Weight Loss As a Factor in Family Planning

The good news is that weight loss achieved through lifestyle changes, or if recommended, bariatric surgery, can improve the health of both mother and child. As the weight comes off, hormonal imbalances linked to obesity are reduced or even eliminated. In particular, weight loss surgery is a great option for hopeful parents who have struggled to lose weight through diet and exercise alone. 

If you’re looking to lose weight to improve your chances of getting pregnant, weight loss surgery might be the right choice for you. Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors have helped many people lose weight and keep it off long-term. Heather S. and Kristen G., for instance, have lost over 100 pounds each with the help of bariatric surgery!

If you want to learn more about how weight loss surgery can boost the health of you and your family, schedule a consultation with Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors today. Drs. Hesham Atwa, Charles Thompson, and Jon Leung will walk you through treatment options and get you started on the journey to the new you.