Dr Parag Hitnalikar (MD, FNB Reproductive Medicine)
Obesity can be called as mother of many lifestyles related diseases. It is one of the main cause of cardiovascular accidents such as heart attack, and heart related diseases. It is also the main culprit for diabetes which is a major burden on healthcare system. Not to forget it is the main underlying cause of many cancers.
Obesity has a major role in male reproductive outcomes. What does it exactly cause?
Semen analysis is the report of all semen parameters such as count of sperms, motility of sperms and its morphology. Count denotes the number of total sperms in a given sample, whereas motility denotes how many sperms are actually moving and are capable of fertilizing the egg on their own. In obese individuals, both these parameters are affected. The third parameter is sperm morphology, which denotes the structure of sperms. Obesity affects both internal and external structure of the sperms.
Normal sexual function is very important for normal reproduction. One of the main sexual problems a man face is the problem of erection of penis. These individuals have inadequate or no erection during the intercourse. This severely affects the self-esteem and chances of successful pregnancy. Obesity increases chances of sexual dysfunction.
Prostate gland inflammation
One of the main gland that contributes to the semen is prostate. The fluids from prostate protectsthe sperms and provides nourishment to sperms. In obesity, this gland is frequently affected causing abnormal prostate secretions.
Why does obesity cause all the above mentioned problems at all?
Let us go a little bit into the mechanisms by which obesity does so
Insulin is the hormone which regulates all energy and growth elated activities of human cells. In obesity this the levels of insulin are very high. This affects the function of important cells and hormones which are essential for normal reproduction.
Leptin is again a hormone which is found in very high level in obese individuals. This hormone reduces the levels of testosterone, which in turn is main chemical required for sperm production and sexual desire.
Reactive oxygen species (ROC) are the chemicals which are damaging for sperm production. ROC levels are increased in obesity and smoking.
Tips to deal with obesity
Regular exercise as a part of daily routine. A moderate strenuous exercise for 150 min a week has found to be effective to reduce weight
Weight loss of 9 Kg has been found to increase fertility by 10%
Restrict calories intake. Male can have 1500 to 1800 Cal per day and females can have 1200-1500 Cal per day
Don’t have high caloric food such as deserts, sweets, ice creams, junk food
Consume lot of green vegetables, fruits which are low in calories and are fillers
Do no reduce weight by crash exercise and diet, do it slowly
Take help of counsellors for lifestyle modification
There are medicines and surgeries available for weight loss in very obese individuals. Take help of doctors when necessary.