Exercise, Weight and Fertility

Body weight has profound impact on natural fertility.

There are five main types of sex hormones: GnRH from hypothalamus, FSH/LH from pituitary gland and estradiol, progesterone from ovaries. A balanced hormonal axis is of utmost importance for fertility. Fatty tissue plays an important role in this aspect.

To maintain normal ovulatory cycles, at least more than 15% of body weight should be fat. Otherwise, menstrual cycles would become irregular, or even amenorrhoeic. High risk groups of patients include anorexia, nervosa, extreme diet control and professional competitive athelets. Once the cycles are affected, it is very difficult to restore to normal cyclicity even if previous body weight has been regained.

On the other hand, if body fat composition is 15% more than normal, the cycles could also become irregular. And under the stimulation of constant high dose oestrogen derived from fatty tissue, there could be a higher risk of having uterine cancer.

Obesity also decrease production rate of sperm. Again, this is related to hormone secretion. A good advice for men and women of reproductive age is to ‘keep fit’ and have balanced diet. Vegetarian should also pay attention to supplements with Zinc, Iron and Vitamin B rich food.

As GnRH is released in pulsatile manner from hypothalamus. Stress at life or work, insomnia could affect its release through Central Nervous System. A balanced diet plus regular exercise is the best way to stay healthy and be reproductive.

The content in this article is for reference only, it does not provide any professional diagnosis or treatment advice.