Expert cautions couples on effects of overweight, obesity on fertility

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JOSEPH Akinde, the Chairman, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SGON) Lagos Chapter, says obesity and overweight can reduce the chances of conception among couples.

Akinde, who is also the Medical Director of Living Spring Hospital, Ejigbo, a private medical facility, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday.

The fertility expert-defined infertility as the inability of cohabiting couples to get pregnant after one year of adequate unprotected sexual intercourse.

He also defined overweight and obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that might impair health.

He said that infectious diseases were the leading causes of infertility in developing countries, saying that obesity and environmental changes, among others, had been recognised as major contributors.

Akinde said that modern-day living and various lifestyles today had contributed in no small measure to the accumulation of fat and toxic materials in our bodies.

According to him, such can affect several natural body functions and the ability to reproduce, thereby contributing to various degrees of sperm disorders in men and implantation failures in women.

The expert added that overweight and obese men could experience hormonal changes that could reduce their level of fertility and make them less interested in sex or unable to perform.

He said that obese men were more likely to have challenges getting an erection with low sperm quality than men of healthy and normal weight.

Akinde stated that such factors could reduce the chances of men who were overweight or obese fathering a child.

He said that obesity in women could also affect their chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby.

“A good hormonal balance regulates the menstrual cycle. Overweight and obese women have higher levels of a hormone called leptin, which is produced in fatty tissue. This can disrupt the hormone balance and lead to reduced fertility.

“Obese women can experience hormonal imbalances, ovulation problems; particularly for obese women having their first baby.

“The risk of pre-eclampsia doubles in overweight women and triples in obese women, as well as the likelihood to have a miscarriage.

“Overweight women also have twice the risk of gestational diabetes and obese women eight times the risk, compared to women of healthy weight,’’ he said.

Akinde added that infants born to obese women were more likely to be very big, in need of neonatal care, or born with a congenital abnormality.

He advised obese individuals to exercise, eat healthy with supplementation in order to boost the quality and quantity of sperm and eggs needed for optimal fertility.

He said that with technology, most infertility cases could be treated, saying that research had also proven that there were cases of unexplained infertility.

The fertility expert urged obese couples with infertility concerns to seek medical help after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse; eat organic foods and live a healthy lifestyle.

“For both men and women, healthy eating, regular exercise, and losing even a few kilos can improve the chances of pregnancy. However, being underweight can also reduce fertility,” Akinde said. (NAN)

– Aug. 3, 2020 @ 15:39 GMT |

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