Can Diabetes Cause Infertility?
Infertility is something that affects about 10 percent of the U.S. population. Diseases like diabetes can cause extra complications for both women and men when it comes to fertility.
Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant within 12 months of trying to conceive. There are many factors that can cause infertility, but the good news is that in most cases there is a specific medical cause that can be resolved.
Simple lifestyle changes such as weight loss through exercise and dieting can help reverse the affects of infertility. According to Dr. Tommaso Falcone, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics-Gynecology at the Cleveland Clinic, diabetes and insulin-related infertility is something very common.
Infertility, Diabetes and Women
Insulin is a hormone, and when diabetes or any form of insulin resistance is present, a hormone imbalance is created. If one hormone is out of balance it can trigger a domino effect, which can affect other hormones such as: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
These imbalances can have many different side effects like ovarian cysts, erectile dysfunction and infertility. When infertility is closely related to a problem with insulin levels, correcting this imbalance will often results in a successful pregnancy.
Dr. Falcone claims that obesity and insulin resistance are among the most common causes of infertility, especially in women. Insulin resistance is found in up to 60 percent of overweight women and 40 percent of women who are not overweight. Of the people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 80 percent to 90 percent are also diagnosed as obese. In other words, obesity and diabetes come hand in hand, and are big risk factors for infertility as well.
For women who wish to become pregnant, Dr. Falcone suggests that the first thing that should be done is to control blood sugar levels. Being aware of both blood sugar levels and your weight are essential to increasing your chances of becoming pregnant. Even if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to watch what you eat, to exercise properly and to take vitamin supplements to improve your chances of conceiving.
Infertility, Diabetes and Men
Diabetes complications can cause infertility issues for men as well. A preliminary report conducted in May 2007 by researchers in Belfast, Northern Ireland, showed that men with type 1 diabetes may have DNA damage in their sperm, which possibly hampers fertility.
Diabetes complications such as nerve damage, multiple sclerosis or a spinal cord injury can lead to retrograde ejaculation. When this happens, the semen goes into the bladder instead. Another diabetes complication that can arise is erectile dysfunction, which can also lead to fertility problems for men.
Psychological Effects of Diabetes and Infertility
The inability to conceive and bear children can become a major life crisis for many couples. Relationships can often become strained. Unfortunately, infertility is hidden in society, as it is carries social stigma and many couples do not like to discuss the issue.
This silence can result in not getting the proper help and care they need in order to conceive. It is important to realize that there is hope. More than 80% of all infertility cases are treatable, and almost one-third of cases do not require treatment other than what you can do for yourself. This means simple changes, taking up a healthy diet and proper exercise.