Causes of Infertility: Obesity

Obesity is among the most frequent causes of infertility that may affect both men and women. Obesity may increase the risks of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and arthritis, but it may also be linked to infertility. In men, obesity may decrease the levels of testosterone and may also lead to erectile dysfunction. Obesity can also affect the sex drive and may also cause stress and emotional discomfort. A few lifestyle changes to promote weight loss can improve fertility and will also result in healthier children.

Cholesterol Levels and Testosterone

In men, the production of the male sexual hormone testosterone is linked to the levels of cholesterol. In obese men, the level of cholesterol is typically high. High levels of cholesterol will mean low levels of testosterone. The testosterone production affects the quantity and the quality of the sperm. Consequently, in obese patients, the sperm's quality may be affected and there may also be a low sperm count.

Erectile Dysfunction in Obese Men

Obesity may cause erectile dysfunction. This is also due to the lack of sufficient testosterone in the body, which will reduce the blood flow to the penis. Several studies have been performed to demonstrate that obesity can cause erectile dysfunction.

Other Fertility Problems in Obese Men

On top of all other fertility problems, obesity may affect the sex drive both in men and women. Obese patients may have confidence issues and these may stop the patient from having a normal sex life. Being overweight may be a stress factor, and stress is a leading factor that affects fertility. If conception is possible, an obese father is most likely to have an obese child and transmit several health related issues to the child.

Additional Considerations

To determine if a patient is obese, the body mass index (BMI) should be calculated. If this is higher than 30, the patient is obese and should consider losing some weight. The BMI may be calculated online through automated calculators, requiring only information such as the height and the weight of the patient. Patients who would like to lose weight should opt for a healthy and gradual method. Depriving the body of the necessary nutrients may affect the patient's fertility, and this may also have a negative effect on the health of a future baby. A nutritionist can help establishing a weight loss plan that includes a balanced diet, but is poor in calories.

For best results, an exercise plan should be introduced as well. Minimal weight loss can have a great impact on fertility. In addition, weight loss will be a confidence booster and can increase the sex drive. Weight variations or a sudden weight loss may also affect fertility. Patients should wait at least three months after reaching a normal weight before trying to get pregnant. On average, sperm require three months to mature.

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