Diabetes is a condition in which the level of sugar or glucose in the blood is higher than normal. Insulin is the hormone which helps the cells to absorb glucose for energy. Diabetes is a condition wherein the pancreas does not make enough insulin (Type I diabetes), if at all, or the insulin that is produced does not work as it should (Type 2 diabetes). The WHO estimates that more than 180 million people worldwide have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is rising alarmingly worldwide, at a rate of 3% per year.
Diabetes can negatively impact the reproductive health of both men and women. Men who are diagnosed with diabetes are seen to have lower sperm count and semen volume, along with greater sperm DNA damage. In women, diabetes comes as a secondary condition associated with hormonal ailments like PCOS and hyperthyroidism, which introduce several challenges to conceive naturally and may also lead to complications during pregnancy.
How does Type-1 Diabetes affect female fertility?
- Menarche & menstrual cycle disturbances: Type 1 diabetes is associated with longer cycle length (>31 days), longer menstruation (≥6 days), heavy menstruation, and menstrual problems at a younger age (<29 years). Juvenile diabetes (type 1) causes delayed menarche.
- Anovulation: Anovulation is the absence of ovulation when it would be normally expected (in a post-menarche, premenopausal woman). Anovulation can result from a variety of factors such as chronic mental illness, hormone imbalances, pituitary or ovarian failure or diabetes. Low BMI, diabetic women will have irregular periods, which causes starving of cells (intracellular starvation). This may disrupt the hypothalamic pulsatile secretion of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), with a resultant decrease in the secretion of gonadotropins. This results in a lower level of luteinizing hormone (LH) and prolactin which plays an active role in reproduction.
- Anti-sperm antibodies: The antibodies produced in diabetes can attack the sperms and her eggs.
How does Type-2 diabetes affect female fertility?
Diabetes, obesity and PCOS: Generally, Type 2 diabetes occurs in postmenopausal women, but with modern dietary and lifestyle patterns, obesity is on a high, thus raising the incidence of Type 2 diabetes during the reproductive years.
Obesity is associated with irregular menstrual cycles and also linked to PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It is a metabolic disorder and characterized by an excess of androgens (male hormones), cysts on the ovaries and irregular menstrual cycles/lack of ovulation. Between 50-70% of women who have PCOS also have insulin resistance.
Adiponectin is a hormone that improves insulin sensitivity and prevents obesity. In women with PCOS, lower levels of adiponectin lead to poor sensitivity to insulin and fat breakdown. Thus, PCOS coexists with diabetes and obesity; this is a triple threat to fertility and reproductive health.
Losing weight with a healthy diet and exercise is the most effective way to correct insulin resistance, increase fertility and prevent Type 2 diabetes and the resulting complications.
How does Diabetes affect Male fertility?
Diabetes among men is quite common in India as well as in other parts of the world. In some cases, a man with diabetes can father healthy children with no problems whatsoever. But on the other hand, diabetic males are susceptible to an array of conditions which could lead to infertility requiring medical assistance.
Many diabetic men, even those who are insulin-dependent, live perfectly healthy lives as long as they keep a check on their diet and weight. But some men with unhealthy lifestyles may face issues when it comes to fertility and having children.
Today infertility is a growing concern and diabetes could be one of the potential causes. Some of the effects of diabetes on male fertility are:
- ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
- RETROGRADE EJACULATION
- DELAYED EJACULATION
- LOW TESTOSTERONE
- REDUCED SPERM QUALITY
- REDUCED SEMEN
- The solutions to these conditions are the same as the solution to fertility issues:
- Awareness about the fact that diabetes can affect male and female fertility.
- A proper consultation regarding fertility issues with a renowned fertility specialist.
- Taking assistance of various assisted fertilization methods.
Ziva Fertility is a fertility clinic that specializes in helping couples with their fertility issues. Due to diabetes, many men and women suffer from infertility problems. In most instances, they are either not able to conceive or not able to hold the pregnancy. With the latest technology fertility treatment options, Ziva Fertility can address these medical problems and help couples where either one or both are suffering from diabetes to have a healthy baby. Do not suffer anymore fulfil your dream of a complete family by reaching out to us at www.zivafertility.com.