It’s no secret that there is an obesity epidemic taking place in America today. Obesity can be defined as, “excessive accumulation of fat in adipose tissue...a metabolic disorder resulting from behavioral, environmental, and heritable causes”. There are countless serious health hazards that are associated with high weight, including heart disease and diabetes. However, one such complication that is often overlooked is infertility, and, more specifically, male infertility.
How exactly can obesity contribute to male reproductive abilities?
When a man is carrying extra weight to the point of obesity, there is a high chance of a significant reduction in his sperm count. Reduced sperm is directly related to infertility trouble. A state of obesity also offsets the healthy and normal balance of sex hormones required for conception. According to this review, obese males may experience hormonal imbalances because there is excessive conversion of androgens into estrogens, offsetting the normal ratio. Being obese also disturbs the environment required for proper spermatogenesis to take place, resulting in slowed production of new sperm cells.
Another medical review points to obesity as a cause of secondary hypogonadism. This condition is related to the production and maintenance of sex hormones in males, as it is directly related to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland. These are both parts of the brain that send messages to the testicles to trigger testosterone production. New research shows that efforts to reduce weight can potentially restore hormone levels.
For a couple struggling to get pregnant, it’s important to address the fertility of both the female and the male. Aside from obesity, there are other causes of male infertility. Regardless of the cause, if you are a male struggling with infertility issues, there are several ways to approach treatment.