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Bariatric Surgeon India

OBESITY IN MEN – How Does It Affect Reproductive Health?

The reasons why we want to lose weight will be different for everyone.  However, fertility might not cross our minds as one of the reasons. Unfortunately, many of us think fertility issues are mostly related to women, but this is not true. Excess body weight, either in men or women, can have an equal effect on reproductive health.

Most of us are aware that obesity can harm our physical well-being and cause various health issues like diabetes, kidney problems, and cardiac diseases. However, obesity can also affect the sexual well-being of men. AIIMS conducted an infertility study in India on over 12 to 18 million couples diagnosed with infertility. Out of them, around 50% of infertility issues are registered in men.

Obesity is one of the key causes of male infertility, but many of us are not aware of how it can lead to male infertility. Obesity in men can suppress their testosterone levels and reduce their coital frequency. Compared to men with normal weight, obese men have a threefold increased risk of having low sperm count.

But how do we determine who is obese? In general, obesity is measured by Body Mass Index (BMI). Men with a BMI over 25 are considered to be overweight, and men whose BMI is above 30 are considered to be obese. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data for the 21st century, obesity in India affects around 5% of the male population, which eventually places them at risk of male infertility. 

Obesity can affect the fertility of men in different ways.

Men who are just 10 or 15 kg greater than their ideal weight have a 10% higher risk of developing infertility.

Hormonal imbalance is the reason for male infertility because excess body fat can lead to the production of lower testosterone, which plays a prominent role in sperm production. These hormones also play an essential role in maintaining overall reproductive health in men.

In addition, excess fat, especially around the scrotum, can increase its temperature, which reduces the quantity and quality of sperm. This eventually leads to infertility in men.

Obesity can reduce the quality of the sperm, which means decreased sperm motility and abnormal morphology and quantity of sperm, which means less sperm count. 

Inflammation is another reason that leads to infertility in obese people. Chronic inflammation throughout the body can have many effects on reproductive organs and impair sperm function.

Men with obesity problems are vulnerable to developing erectile dysfunction, which may make it difficult for them to achieve the erections essential for sexual intercourse and conception.

Obesity can alter Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) levels. It is a protein produced by the liver that binds to sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) in the blood. Ensuring the availability of these hormones to the intended tissues is SHBG’s main function. When it comes to testosterone in males, altered SHBG levels reduce the availability of free testosterone, which is important for sperm production and other functions related to reproduction.

Insulin resistance can alter several metabolic functions in the body, including hormonal functions. Obesity can trigger insulin resistance, which is essential for regulating SHBG levels. Insulin resistance can limit the production of SHBG and also boost insulin release, which can further suppress the production of SHBG in the liver.

The only way to reduce all these obesity-related problems, including infertility, in men is by losing weight and achieving an ideal body weight. 

How to improve reproductive health 

Changing your lifestyle and implementing specific day-to-day actions can help you lose excess body weight and increase the probability of producing healthy sperm.

Healthy diet

Unhealthy food habits can affect your sperm health. So choosing the right diet rich in antioxidants, like fruits and vegetables, is very important. Additionally, avoiding fatty foods and sugary drinks is highly recommended.

Avoid high-calorie diet

Keep track of your calorie intake because taking the right quantity can help you lose weight quickly. To be more precise, consult an expert dietician and prepare your diet chart, which plays a key role in shedding weight and improving sperm health.

Be active

Regular physical activity, at least at moderate levels, helps to increase powerful antioxidant enzymes in your body. Being physically active keeps you fit and also improves your sperm quality.

Manage your stress levels 

Obesity and stress have a complicated history together. Chronic stress can lead to overeating foods high in fat, sugar, and calories, which eventually end up gaining weight.

It is also known that stress can directly interfere with your sexual life, especially with the hormones important in sperm production. Therefore, one should manage their stress levels.

Losing excess weight can certainly improve fertility. If you are obese and looking for the best weight loss solutions, consult Dr. Venugopal Pareek, one of the best weight bariatric surgeons in Hyderabad. He has nearly two decades of experience and has helped thousands of individuals struggling with obesity with his advanced weight loss techniques. 

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