Weight Issues in Infertility
A wide variety of factors can play a role in both female and male infertility. Ranging from environmental factors to nutritional disorders, it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint those factors that are actually causing your fertility troubles. Weight issues often play a role in a large number of infertility cases. Fortunately, these issues are easier to identify, but can still have dramatic effects on a couple's fertility. If you are significantly overweight or underweight, this could be contributing to your fertility problems.
Weight Problems and Infertility
We all know the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for our body size and shape. After all, maintaining a healthy weight can help us to keep our heart pumping, our blood pressure regulated, and our bones and joints painfree. But weight also plays a significant role in fertility.
Our body needs to be of the right weight in order to produce the appropriate amount of hormones to regulate ovulation, menstruation, or sperm production. If we are overweight or underweight, our body can start to experience problems with these natural fertility cycles, impacting your ability to become pregnant. In fact, more than 12% of all infertility patients suffer from weight-related infertility. Gaining or losing weight can often help correct these problems.
Female Fertility and Weight Issues
Female fertility is particularly affected by weight issues. This is because body fat is directly related to the amount of estrogen your body secretes. If you don't have the right amount of body fat, your body could produce too much or too little estrogen, interfering with ovulation and menstruation.
Weight and Natural Fertility
If you are overweight or underweight, your body may be having trouble regulating it's natural cycle. Women who are overweight tend to have a higher percentage of fat on their bodies. Because fat cells produce estrogen, some overweight women produce levels of estrogne that are far too high. This can negatively influence menstruation and ovulation, making it difficult to become pregant.
Women who are underweight are also at risk for compromising their fertility cycle. If you have less than 22% body fat, your body will not receive enough estrogen and ovulation could stop. As a result, many women suffer from oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea.
Weight and Fertility Treatments
Weight can also have an impact on the effectiveness of your fertility treatments. Women who are underweight or overweight tend to be more likely to experience failed cycles of IVF or embryo transfer. They are also more likely to experience miscarriage or stillbirth associated with fertility treatments.
Male Fertility and Weight Issues
Male fertility can also be affected by weight issues. Men who are overweight appear to be at risk for low sperm count and motility problems. This is because extra layers of body fat can surround the testicles, raising their temperature above 96 degrees. Even this slight increase in temperature can cause sperm to die or it could result in lowered spem production.
Men who are underweight are also at risk for fertility issues. Men who overexercise could also increase the temperature of their testicles, killing their sperm. Men who are underweight also tend to have lower sperm counts and poor motility and morphology.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
If you are worried that your weight may be impacting upon your fertility, it is important to speak with your health care provider or your reproductive endocrinologist. She can help to determine if weight is playing a role in your fertility issues. Here are some tips to help you to maintain a healthy weight when you are trying to conceive.
- Exercise regularly. Try to exercise thirty minutes and day, three times a week. Don't overexercise though, as this can contribute to further fertility problems.
- Watch your diet. Maintain a healthy balance of all of the food groups and be sure you are getting enough calories for your body size and shape. Feel free to indulge now and again, just don't do it all of the time.
- Drink lots of water. Water will help you to stay hydrated and balance your weight.
- Get counseling if you are suffering from an eating disorder.