Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic with India being the 3rd most Obese country in the world. In addition to heart issues, high blood pressure, type II diabetes and various other health disorders, Obesity is also known to have significant effects on the reproductive health of the women at all levels, affecting a woman’s ability to conceive naturally thereby posing adverse pregnancy outcomes including risk of miscarriage and complications of gestational diabetes.
With the rising trend of infertility among women, fertility experts suggest that aggressive management of body weight should be a prerequisite for any woman who faces trouble conceiving naturally.
Is it just woman fertility suffer from Obesity?
Obesity creates fertility issues, both among men and women. However, more so often, in case of women it can lead to irregular ovulation, high levels of insulin resistance and other metabolic issues.
Approximately, 25-30 percent of women that visit fertility clinic are either overweight or obese and over 60 percent of them already have impaired glucose level when they visit for their fertility treatment
“It is a known fact that about 40 per cent of the infertility in women is contributed by polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS and the problem is rampant in Kerala. Several preliminary studies done in adolescent girls and young women show that over 10 per cent of the general population in Kerala have PCOS, which also explains the increasing spectrum of infertility issues here,” says Sheila Balakrishnan, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, who also heads the fertility clinic at SAT Hospital.
10 years back, polycystic ovary syndrome was treated merely as a fertility issue, which was considered to be resolved when the woman finally conceived. It is not necessary that all women who are obese have PCOS, but about 70 percent of those who have PCOS are Obese!
Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is now being recognised as a component of the metabolic syndrome which has to be picked up and treated early, even at adolescence. In other words, parents should take care that girls especially in their adolescence are encouraged to maintain a healthy body weight in order to prevent the inception of metabolic issues, which has become quite a common health issue among young women.
You would be surprised to know that in Kerala, approximately 15-17 percent of pregnant women have known to develop gestational diabetes that creates a significant health issue for the mother as well as the child in the long run. Doctors suggest that even a 5 percent reduction in body weight can have positive outcomes in woman’s ovulation pattern.
Growth of ‘Obesity Epidemic’ has increased the number of women undergoing Bariatric Surgery as it is considered to be the last resort for the morbidly obese people, with the hope of overcoming infertility issues, which are parallelly on rise.
Such kinds of patients are advised to adopt a healthy lifestyle while reducing their body weight as a first step towards aiding conception. But, there are some women who find it quite difficult to bring down their weight through diet modifications. In such cases bariatric surgery has worked wonders, which later helps them to conceive naturally.
However, Bariatric surgery is not for everyone and not even the answer to infertility issues. For some, weight loss following the surgery has had a positive impact on their ovulation pattern.
Therefore, women are advised to manage their weight from the very early age and adopt a healthy lifestyle.