India currently has the third highest number of obese people in the world after USA and China. With this significant rise in obesity there are other health problems that co-occur with it. One of the most common health problems linked to obesity is infertility. Fertility is seen to be significantly affected by a person weight and multiple studies and research have found a direct co-relation. Obesity is known to affect fertility not just in females but in males as well including affecting the sexual health as well.
In Females :
- Excess fat deposition in the abdominal region increases the risk of insulin resistance. Egg formation in females is affected significantly by insulin resistance. Insulin also affects the sex hormones and increases male hormones and reduces the female hormones. This increase in male hormones in females also gives rise to male characteristics such as excess facial hair growth, hoarseness or change in voice and acne development.
- Obesity can significantly increase the chances of miscarriage due to poor quality of egg and hormonal imbalance could prevent the pregnancy from sustaining.
- Obesity can also lead to complicated pregnancies. With the increase in weight at each trimester of pregnancy the female may develop high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, the baby’s head maybe enlarged (also called macrosomia) thereby making it a high-risk pregnancy and chances of normal delivery become almost impossible.
In Males :
- Obese males can have a significant reduction in the sperm count or no sperm formation at all when compared to normal weight adults thus affecting conception.
- With increase in weight there is a significant reduction in the male hormones which get converted into female hormones thereby affecting the sperm formation. Males tend to develop female characteristics like change in voice, breast development (gynaecomastia), acne and indrawn or buried penis.
- Also, due to the excess fat deposition there can be an increase in the temperature around scrotum thus affecting the sperm count, sperm concentration and the sperm’s ability to swim.
Multiple research and studies have shown that it is safer to conceive after bariatric surgery than to conceive when you are overweight or obese.
The following points were noticed regarding Obesity and Infertility after Bariatric Surgery :
- Significant improvement in Fertility
- Need for fertility treatment was very low
- Normalization of hormones, decrease in excess hair growth in females (hirsutism), regularization of menstrual cycle
- Resolution of PCOD
- Increase in chance of healthy and normal conception
- Improvement in sperm count
- Improvement in sexual libido in both males and females
- A significant reduction in maternal complications like diabetes, high blood pressure and foetal complications like macrosomia.
- The baby is also protected from getting all these health complications
Thus Bariatric Surgery is a very important tool in not just improving fertility but also maintaining good sexual health and improving family and quality of life.
At LOC healthcare LLP Dr Shashank Shah has been performing Bariatric Surgeries for the last 17 years and he must have operated on over 1500 young girls who had healthy and normal babies post surgery.