How and why your BMI actually affect your fertility?

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Our fertility is one of the most sensitive and complex natural abilities that we have. This ability is something we are given from birth. However, as every natural ability that we have, our reproductive health and fertility are very vulnerable.  

Good and preserved fertility depends on many factors. Some of them are not in our hands to manage, but some of them completely depend on our actions. 

Our body mass index is some of the strongest factors influencing our fertility, depending on our daily habits and lifestyle. This factor influences both female and male fertility. The dependence of our BMI and our hormones is very strong, and every change in our weight affects the hormonal balance in our bodies. 

As we all know, hormones govern our reproductive system and our ability to conceive. So, let’s discover in detail how the mechanism behind this dependance works. 

Firstly, let’s make sure what BMI means 

Yes, it is true that your weight strongly influences your fertility. Due to the fact that each body is different, the proper way to measure if your weight is okay or not is through the body – mass index (BMI). 

The body mass index is a way to measure your weight relative to your height and is very often used by nutritionists as a way to predict body fat. There are many online tools to calculate your BMI or your healthcare provider can help you with that. 

There are also many nutritional centers who can make a complete diagnostic of your body, where BMI is checked by default. This kind of diagnostics can also provide information about the amount of fat, kind of fat, how the fat is distributed, etc. Besides the BMI, this information can be useful to get a full picture of your body’s structure. 

The body mass index has four different ranges, evaluating your weight. Here is the basic scaling:  

  • Underweight – BMI < 19
  • Normal – BMI is between 19 and 24
  • Overweight – BMI is between 25 – 29
  • Obese – BMI > 30

According to these ranges, our fertility experts can create assumptions about the condition of your body. Further analysis can help in evaluating your overall fertility. 

Very important to remember!

BMI can not distinguish between fat and muscle. So, if a person has increased muscle weight, it can lead to confusion. 

You can use this information to get an approximate orientation if your body is ready and healthy for pregnancy. Meaning, you can perceive the BMI as an indicator if you need to think about reaching professional more detailed diagnostic and help.

A full analysis of your body is a more reliable source of information about in which state your body is and what effect it can have on fertility. 

What can the BMI actually reveal about female fertility? 

The base of a healthy reproductive system and preserved fertility is the hormonal balance in the body. Usually, when the BMI is not at the normal level,  it can lead to some hormonal disbalance that decreases your chances to stay conceive naturally. 

Why is this so?

The link between estrogen level and BMI

Estrogen is one of the hormones that govern our reproductive system. It plays the main role when evaluating your fertility and is also closely associated with weight. This hormone is produced mainly in the ovaries. Besides that, the fat cells can produce this hormone too. 

A good predictor for the number of fat cells is BMI. It is highly possible if you are not fit, and you don’t exercise regularly, a high BMI to indicate a high amount of fat cells in your body. This logically leads to the conclusion that the more fat cells you have, the higher the estrogen levels will get.

Your next question might be – What are the negative implications of imbalanced estrogen?

Thickening the uterine lining due to higher estrogen levels

This hormone is also in charge of the uterine lining growth. Higher levels from the normal established range of this hormone can cause thickening of the uterine lining. Thick lining can negatively affect your fertility in several ways: 

Problems associated with insulin levels due to higher estrogen levels

The high levels of estrogen can interrupt the processing of insulin in your body. The result of this can be the development of: 

Both diseases severely harm one’s fertility and the chances to get pregnant naturally. 

Menstrual irregularities leading to anovulation due to lower estrogen levels

Lower than the defined normal BMI, or a low body-fat percentage, can result in energy insufficiency of your body. When the body is running under reduced energy, the systems in our body that are not a priority, such as the reproductive system are slowing or shutting down

The result from it is reduced work of the hypothalamus. The regulation of hormones is interrupted and this can lead to irregular menstrual cycles or anovulation (fully absent menstrual cycle).

Anorexia, as an eating disorder, can be the reason for low BMI. This eating disorder causes decreased levels of estrogen due to a lack of nutrients in the body. Furthermore, it leads to menstrual irregularities, and very often a full absence of menstrual periods.

BMI affects male fertility too!

Men’s fertility is also very sensitive to BMI excess. It has been estimated that each 10kg above the “normal” can reduce male fertility by 10%. BMI classified as “Obese” can indicate decreased fertility in men. 

Decreased fertility in men because of obesity has a complex link between hormonal disbalance, sexual dysfunction and health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes. The link is based on decreased testosterone levels due to weight excess. 

Weight and excess BMI don’t affect only men’s sexual function. It can also cause poor sperm quality and negative changes in the sperm cells on a physical and molecular level. As a result, obese men are often struggling with bad sperm morphology and sperm count. 

Not “normal” BMI can affect your IVF Cyprus treatment too

Studies show that women whose BMI was classified “Overweight” or “Obese”  had a 19 percent lower live birth rate after IVF than normal-weight women did. The risk of miscarriage after an IVF treatment is also higher in obese women, with almost 52%. 

Even though IVF treatments have shown to be the most effective way to cope with infertility, they are sensitive to your body weight and BMI. The success of fertility treatment, such as in-vitro fertilization can be seriously harmed by the disrupted hormonal balance due to problems with your weight.

The most affected part is the second stage of the IVF Cyprus treatment – The ovarian stimulation. 

This step is crucial for successful IVF treatment. With applying ovarian stimulation through fertility medications, the women are able to produce more viable eggs for further fertilization. 

If your weight and BMI are not in the “normal” range, it can cause a poor response to the fertility medication and the desired result of this step won’t be achieved. The woman won’t produce more viable eggs, and the further steps of the IVF Cyprus procedure might be questionable. 

Your fertility expert at euroCARE would recommend canceling the cycle if there is not sufficient response to the ovarian stimulation protocol. 

How to proceed if your BMI is not in the “normal” range

Even though it is not the perfect measure for your body fat, the BMI can indicate that your body needs changes. But, you should keep in mind that drastic changes in your weight can cause further issues with your hormonal balance too. So, the changes that you should do should be steady and moderated. 

For example, nutrition and fertility experts have agreed that people classified with “Overweight” according to their BMI, can make a significant improvement in their fertility by just losing 5 to 10% of their body weight. 

Anyway, before reaching to any diet or exercising programs, you should definitely see someone specialized in metabolic fertility issues. Seeing an expert in the field can help in getting a full picture of your body. Our bodies are made of bad and good fat and losing the visceral body fat can be harmful too. 

Therefore, before having a professional consultation and full-body diagnostic, please don’t apply any solution on your own.

Very useful in terms of balancing your BMI for improved fertility is to get your hormone levels examined too. Based on this the fertility expert would be able to determine if your current body state can cause difficulties in getting pregnant. A detailed overview of the hormonal balances in your body can help in determining what your body lacks, what to improve, add or extract from your daily habits. 

If you are struggling with some eating disorder, then you should think of seeing a therapist. These kinds of disorders require more work and dedication to stabilize them. 

Some advice from euroCARE’s fertility experts 

Your weight and BMI can not be the sole and only one reason why your fertility decreases. Age and many other factors are naturally and undoubtedly affecting your fertility too. But, when planning on staying pregnant, everything matters! 

Obesity and increased body fat never helped anyone. It can lead to the development of additional health issues that can weaken your body and cause difficulties when getting pregnant. Therefore, our fertility experts are recommending to think about implementing changes in your lifestyle that can help you naturally prevent your fertility. 

So, let’s take a look at them.

Reduce the stress level and avoid the development of eating disorders 

High levels of stress can lead to two extreme body mass conditions and types of eating disorders. Some people are reacting to stress with stress – eating, which undoubtedly can increase your weight, and in a very unhealthy and drastic way. 

The other extreme is stress leading to starving and developing eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. These two will expose your body to insufficient nutrition and are very hard to reverse back to normal. Bouncing from an eating disorder requires a lot of effort and time. This means serious delays in getting pregnant. 

As we all know, our fertility, unfortunately, has an “expiration date”.

Use sport or meditation techniques to improve your mental and reproductive health 

Yoga might be a perfect combination for reducing stress, establishing balance in your body, and mind. This sport/meditation technique is moderate, and won’t put your body under a lot of physical stress. 

So, in conclusion, your body and mind will benefit a lot from practicing yoga. 

Consider including fertility boosting foods in your everyday meals 

Creating a diet involving fertility-boosting foods will not only help with regulating your weight and BMI but also establish balance and sufficient intake of the nutrients that our reproductive system needs to operate properly. 

All of these foods have features that will detoxify your body, improve your overall health (not only reproductive health), and keep you fit and positive. They can improve your mental health too and help your body to cope moderately with stressful situations. 

So, you have nothing to lose if you start including them in your daily routine. 

Do you want to discuss your pregnancy chances with the best fertility doctor in Cyprus? 

Well, now it’s very easy to do that. eurCARE’s team is available for you at each social platform, and of course on-site in North Cyprus. Our aim is to be reachable for you in any kind of circumstance. Therefore, our fertility heroes are only one free consultation away and looking forward to hearing your story and helping you get pregnant!

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Resources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-obesity/art-20044409
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/expert-answers/weight-loss-before-pregnancy/faq-20380882
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmi-m.htm

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