PUNE, India – 29 November, 2016 –Mr. Ashok and Mrs. Pushpa(names changed), aged 30 and 29 respectively, had been trying to conceive for two years without any success, before they consulted the fertility experts at Nova IVI Fertility. Upon check-up after a few basic tests, it was found that nothing apart from the excess weight was abnormal so as to hinder the process to conception.
Dr. Nameeta Bhalerao, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVI Fertility, Pune said “At our centre, we see that about 50% of the patients who come for infertility treatment are either overweight or obese. Many of them are young, between 25 and 35 years of age. A root cause of major ailments like cardiovascular disorders, cancer and diabetes, obesity’s effects on infertility are often overlooked.”
Obesity impairs ovulation but has also been observed to detrimentally affect endometrial development and implantation. The hormonal imbalance that comes with obesity often leads to insulin resistance. That is a major risk factor on the road to diabetes. Sudden weight gain is also one of the key signs of PCOS in women. PCOS is a common disorder that is caused by hormonal imbalance in the body, thereby disrupting the ovulation process and eventually leading to infertility when not diagnosed and treated at the right time. It is crucial for women with PCOS to keep their weight in check. Moreover, obesity also makes it more challenging to become pregnant, no matter whether one is using natural means or assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Although much of the focus on obesity and infertility is on women, it absolutely affects men too. The range of impact include reduced sperm count, lowered levels of testosterone, physical constraints, reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, hypertension and uncontrolled diabetes which deteriorates the quality of semen.
Obesity is widely determined by the Body Mass Index (BMI) of a person which is calculated by dividing the weight in kilograms by the square of height in metres. A healthy BMI is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9. Having a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered ‘overweight’ and a BMI over 30 is considered ‘obese’.Other parameters which define the more deleterious central obesity include waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). A waist circumference >80 cm in women is an accepted indicator of visceral fat accumulation, the main culprit behind the hormonal disarray.
World is facing an obesity epidemic, with India being the third most obese country in the world. Obesity is increasingly becoming a characteristic of many people in urban areas, more than being a disease alone. The lack of exercise, increased consumption of junk food and alcohol, binge eating and erratic work hours causing insufficient sleep are some of the many reasons for obesity.
“Obese women often tend to face complications not only in natural conception but also in assisted reproduction techniques that we carry out. We educate our patients about the importance of having their weight in control so that they have a healthy reproductive system. Regular exercise and replacing junk food with healthy food can go a long way in fulfilling the dream of being a parent without any hurdle.”Dr. Bhalerao added.
Awareness is the key to preventing oneself from succumbing to obesity. Right from childhood ensuring a healthy lifestyle of balanced diet, exercise and regular weight checks is crucial to get on top of this multi-organ ailment. It is necessary for both men and women to maintain a healthy lifestyle to live the dream of healthy parenthood.
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