As the epidemic of obesity continues to affect man’s basic life functions, fertility dysfunction has become more widespread. Although the impact of obesity on female fertility have been studied thoroughly, little research has been done on its impact on male fertility. However, the research done has shown its strong grasp on male reproductivity.
Obesity is known to affect men at all stages of development. Unlike girls, who experience an early onset of puberty due to obesity, boys face a delayed puberty. Obesity during this period not only affects hormonal imbalance, it leads to lower levels of testosterone and deposition of fat in the abdomen. The low testosterone levels reduce the reproductive growth of boys, effectively delaying the changes that they undergo during puberty like growth of facial and body hair, change in voice and so on.
Obesity, though physically visible, is medically diagnosed with the help of Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation. It can be calculated by dividing the weight of a person in kilogram with the square of height in metres. A BMI in the range 18.5 to 24.9 is considered to be normal while between 25 to 30 is considered to be overweight and anything beyond 30 is classified as obesity. A BMI lesser than 18.5, considered underweight, is also known to affect fertility negatively.
Obesity in men is considered as the main culprit for fertility irregularities like low sperm count. The sperm produced are also known to be weak with low motility and shape irregularities. It is known to cause erectile dysfunction as well. One of the main concern associated with obesity is that, not only is the chances of natural fertilisation or pregnancy meagre, the possibility for conception through medical help like In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is limited.
Researches done on overweight and obese men shows about 22% lower sperm concentration in them than those of normal weight men. Also, the sperm count is known to decrease by about 24%. In some cases, poor semen quantity can also be detected. This is said to be due to the influence of hormonal imbalance. IVF treatment involving obese men is said to fail by about 25% due to lower sperm count and irregularities in sperm morphology. Babies even if conceived are known to be born with deformities in some cases.
Fertility treatment are provided for these people only after treating them for their obesity. In addition to strict diet and regular exercise regimen, severe cases of obesity are treated with the help of medical treatment methodologies. Since prevention is always better than cure, it would be wise to have a hold on lifestyle. Obesity is a known lifestyle disorder fed by the modern eating habits, work nature, stress and other environmental factors. A careful evaluation of the way we live can help us from falling over the edge of weight limit.