Extreme Fluctuations In Weight Can Lead To Infertility
Some cases of female infertility are unable to be improved with a weight maintenance program. Other cases, however, can be improved with minor changes in diet and exercise. Cases involving low or excessive weight in women impact the body’s ability to send hormonal messages from the brain to the ovaries.
Hormonal messengers in the brain
The gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is produced in the hypothalamus in the brain. The release of GnRH prompts the release of LH and FSH hormones in the pituitary gland. LH and FSH hormones are vital for proper ovulation. Extremely low or excessive weight can stall hormone production, causing irregular or absent periods.
Increased weight increases insulin production
Excessive weight gain can raise insulin levels in women and contribute to an overproduction of male hormones in the body. The imbalance of hormones can stop the ovary from releasing eggs. Doctors may prescribe a weight loss regimen along with medications to control weight-related issues.
Women hoping to conceive should maintain healthy blood sugar levels before attempting pregnancy. High glucose levels force the body to release more insulin than usual, causing metabolic disruptions that affect ovulation. Insulin resistance is present in many women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other fertility challenges.
Estrogen is produced in the ovaries and adipose fat tissue cells. A high number of fat cells increase estrogen levels in the body. High estrogen levels negatively impact ovulation and increase the production of harmful ovarian cysts.
What about infertility treatment?
Women with a high body mass index (BMI) can have a difficult time getting pregnant with in vitro fertilization (IVF). A high BMI increases the risk of IVF complications and low embryo counts. Furthermore, babies born to obese women are at a higher risk of having congenital disabilities.
Low weight stalls hormone production
Underweight women run the risk of producing less estrogen than normal. Malnutrition creates a nutrient deficiency and stressful environment. During stressful times, the brain produces fewer of the hormonal messengers that are crucial for the development of eggs in ovaries.
Low weight or eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia deplete the brain’s ability to produce the high estrogen levels needed during ovulation. Furthermore, excessive exercise can harm ovulation.
Minor lifestyle changes can help
Women that are concerned about weight issues affecting pregnancy have hope. Affected individuals can speak with a fertility specialist or dietitian to receive impactful lifestyle suggestions and improve the chances of conception. Weight management can improve not only fertility but also the overall quality of life.