When it comes to infertility or the causes behind a delay in conceiving, your lifestyle plays a big role in it. According to reports, infertility affects millions of people of reproductive age worldwide. It is estimated that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals deal with infertility globally.
Experts say obesity has become the number one lifestyle-related risk factor for diseases like High Blood pressure, Diabetes, Heart disease and Infertility. The adipose tissue through the production of many factors, such as leptin, free fatty acids (FFA), and cytokines may affect hormonal balance required for good fertility. Women with higher Body Mass Index have high risk of infertility
In the male reproductive system, problems in the ejection of semen, absence or low levels of sperm, or abnormal shape (morphology) and movement (motility) of the sperm are found to be increased in men with higher body mass index. Almost 40 percent of the couples suffering from infertility have issues with the male factors.
Late marriages and couples trying for pregnancy in their late thirties and forties contribute to lower rates of fertility. The negative effects of faulty diet and sedentary lifestyle cause the hormonal imbalances leading to infertility.
It is important to understand that infertility affects both men and women equally. There are multiple environmental, genetic and acquired factors which leads to declining fertility in the present reproductive age groups that is between 25 to 34 years.
Some lifestyle issues which can delay conceiving
1. Poor lifestyle: Various factors such as late working hours, irregular sleeping time, stress and anxiety affects the rhythm of our biological clock. Others are sedentary lifestyle and lack of regular exercise, which cause obesity, hormonal disorders, and irregular periods.
2. Poor dietary choice: Eating more frozen, instant and packaged food items with preservatives, more refined sugar and carbohydrates can be detrimental. Sperm quality is directly influenced by dietary habits. In women, a poor diet can also result in ovulation dysfunction and delayed periods, which can lead to infertility.
3. Lack of knowledge: Lack of sexual and reproductive health education during adolescence can lead to sexually transmitted diseases causing irreversible infertility. Also, lack of knowledge about fertile window is very common. People tend to not have sex when it is actually required due to work shifts or because of living in different places.
4. Tendency to prioritize career: People have a tendency to seek financial stability by postponing marriage and childbirth. Early menstruation in girls has further aggravated the problem as their reproductive lives start early and end early. So the biological age (ovarian age) is different from our chronological age for many women.
5. Exposure to environmental pollution: This has caused polycystic ovary syndrome in many women and has also reduced the quantity and quality of sperms.
6. Smoking and drinking: Smoking and consumption of alcohol, as well as electromagnetic radiation from gadgets can reduce the sperm count drastically and damages the DNA of the sperm. Women smokers experience a faster decline in their ovarian reserve, that is the number of follicles reduces, Anti Mullerian Hormone levels falls and may lead to premature menopause.
The solutions for these reasons are self-explanatory. Counselling before starting sexual life, safe contraception counselling, seeking prenatal advice can go a long way in reducing these issues and restore the fertility in many couples. The young generation should be aware of these factors which endanger their fertility and seek proper counselling while planning for pregnancy. Seek a doctor’s advice at the earliest.
Dr Vaishali Chaudhary, Chief IVF Consultant, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Pune