HYDERABAD: About one in every 10-12 couples are impacted by infertility in India. Obesity levels among men and women in Telangana have seen an increase of over ten percentage points over the last decade, as recorded by the National Family Health Survery-4 (NFHS4). The survey concludes that in the 15-49 years age group, 30.9% of women and 28.2% of men are obese in Telangana.
Many lifestyle factors such as the age at which to start a family, weight, lack of exercise, psychological stress, environmental and occupational exposures, and others can have substantial effects on fertility. Women or men who consume tobacco, excessive alcohol or caffeine are more likely to develop problems of infertility.
Dr. Saroja Koppala, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVI Fertility, Hyderabad said, “At the clinic, we are seeing a rise in young couples, aged between 30-40 years, visiting the clinic in last one year, and obesity is found in at least 15-20% of the cases – with either partner or both in some cases. Being obese can lead to abnormal hormone levels in the body, affecting the reproductive process. For instance, over-production of insulin results in irregular ovulation and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women. In men, obesity can lead to low sperm count and quality. Excess fat tampers with testosterone levels in the body and thus reduces the testicle stimulation, inhibiting sperm production.”
Latest research shows that stress also affects testosterone levels and sperm production in men. For some women, chronic stress can affect ovulation by altering the signals to the hypothalamus, the centre of the brain that regulates some of the hormones that trigger the ovaries to release eggs each month.
Women under nonstop stress may ovulate less regularly, making it difficult to achieve pregnancy during the fertile window.
Getting too little sleep can also cause hormonal imbalance and can have a surprising impact on conception. Sleep is super-regenerative and gives the body a chance to relax and recover from a stressful day.
“Many people who cannot get pregnant are extremely stressed. As time passes, the feelings of stress and anxiety only increase and in the end, depression often kicks in. That is why stress relief should be a part of every couple’s conception plan when they are going through an IVF process. Having a check on one’s weight will not only help prevent other deadly diseases but also save one’s fertility,” she says.
She advises regular physical workouts and a balanced diet, to realise their dream of healthy pregnancy.