Obesity or underweight both make it difficult to conceive – VnExpress

Being overweight or underweight can both make it harder to get pregnant, as excess or lack of fat can cause an imbalance of reproductive hormones.

Difficult to conceive because of obesity

Obesity is a common cause of fertility problems in women. Obese people often have difficulty getting pregnant because they don’t ovulate regularly, so they can’t fertilize a man’s sperm.

The ovaries naturally make the hormone estrogen, but fat cells also make estrogen. If there are too many fat cells, the body produces excess estrogen. Just like when a woman takes birth control or is pregnant (two conditions that increase estrogen), the ovaries can stop ovulating as a result.

Research shows that obesity reduces conception rates even with assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Therefore, women should consult their doctor to achieve the most suitable weight for their body, health and pregnancy goals as soon as possible.

Too much or too little fat can cause an imbalance of reproductive hormones. Image: Istock

Difficult to conceive due to underweight

In developed countries like the US, the proportion of underweight women is quite low, about 5% of the population, compared with 50-70% of overweight people. While being underweight tends to cause fewer fertility problems than being overweight or obese, it can still interfere with your ability to get pregnant.

People who are underweight or too thin have fewer fat cells. In response, their bodies make less estrogen than others. Just like when the body has too much estrogen, ovulation is hindered too if there is too little estrogen.

This is why some athletes who work out intensively as well as those with eating disorders like anorexia can stop menstruating altogether. Losing 10%-15% of normal body weight can cause amenorrhea.

Even when menstruating, their periods can become irregular with severe weight loss. This suggests they may not be ovulating as often.

Fertility treatments, such as ovulation-stimulating drugs, are often effective in people who are underweight. The method of using donor eggs also helps low-birth-weight people to have children. However, babies born to mothers with low body weight face many health risks. That’s why experts recommend that women consult their doctors about healthy weight gain before trying to conceive.

Potential diseases related to weight

Besides weight, the specialist will also check for other factors that can lead to infertility. Sometimes, a hormonal imbalance leads to weight problems, not the other way around. In these cases, treating the cause of that hormonal imbalance can make it easier for women to manage their weight and boost fertility.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of ovulatory dysfunction. Up to 95% of women seek fertility treatments because they don’t ovulate regularly due to PCOS. Many people with PCOS make too much insulin, a hormone that converts blood sugar into energy. Excess insulin has been linked to both obesity and menstrual irregularities.

For people with PCOS who are overweight or obese, losing as little as 5-10% of their body weight can restore regular ovulation. Others may take medications that directly treat insulin problems.

Thyroid disorders are also known to cause problems with both weight and fertility. When the thyroid gland is underactive, or hypothyroid, the body doesn’t make enough of two hormones called T3 and T4. These hormones play an important role in metabolism, which is involved in weight control as well as ovulation.

Many people with hypothyroidism can take medication to help the body ovulate more efficiently each menstrual cycle. In a study of about 400 people with infertility, nearly a quarter of the participants were found to have hypothyroidism, and 76% of them were able to get pregnant within a year of treatment.

In addition to women, men also need to consider how weight affects their ability to conceive. Male fertility problems account for 45-50% of couples’ inability to conceive, and weight is a major cause.

The increase in obesity rates in the developed world has roughly paralleled the increase in male infertility. Excess weight can disrupt a healthy balance of male hormones, similar to female hormones. Obesity in men is associated with poor sperm quality and motility. One study also found that the amount of ejaculation decreased as body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference increased.

Many people who are underweight, overweight or obese have no trouble getting pregnant. However, those who have weight problems and want to get pregnant quickly, or have been trying to conceive for 6 months or more without success should see their doctor for a checkup.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), more than 70% of women with weight-related infertility can still get pregnant without fertility treatment if they bring their weight back to a healthier range. This can be done by adjusting your diet and exercise. Some people may need to see doctors or specialists to treat underlying health problems affecting their weight.

One thing both men and women need to avoid is weight loss with extreme diets. Lose weight slowly, while getting the best nutrients for fertility and overall health.

Mr. Ngoc (According to Very Well Family)


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