October 13, 2017

Obesity Causes Hormonal Imbalances That Can Cause Infertility

It is without dispute that obesity causes hormonal imbalances that can cause infertility. These imbalances can manifest in ovulatory dysfunction (irregular periods) and play a role in infertility. But these effects, do not end once conception occurs. What obesity spurns spills over into a general inflammatory response in mother and fetus alike.

Maternally, obesity and this environment of inflammation may promote both hypertension and gestational diabetes. Both these conditions may affect the placenta. The placenta is the lifeblood of fetal wellbeing. Compromising the placenta compromises the fetus. This inflammation can cause differential gene-editing. The translation is a “fight-or-flight” response of the fetus, where it is willing to alter gene expression currently and will manage consequences later (in both the pregnancy) and after birth. These issues may be diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, metabolic disease and returns full circle to obesity. And the cycle continues.

Inflammation, in itself, can halt fat-burning (demonstrated thus far in lab mice studies). The irony is that the more obese, the more white (or abdominal) fat, and the less brown (energy burning) fat. Inflammation can turn off signals in abdominal fat causing it to be spared and as a result, it is harder to burn and dissolve. Longer periods of inflammation can stymie the role of the turbocharged brown fat cells, promoting even more inflammation.

Inflammation reduction starts with healthful diet, monitoring weight loss and reduction of inflammation – promoting wellbeing of mother and fetus alike. Attaining a healthy weight can be overwhelming. We can help find the best path for you and your fertility! Please contact us with any questions! We are here for you.

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Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D. Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility