Can Being Underweight Affect Fertility?
Infertility is a common condition that affects about 10 percent of couples in the United States. There are many possible causes of infertility, including problems with the male or female reproductive system, as well as lifestyle choices.
One factor that can contribute to infertility is weight. In most cases, when weight is linked to infertility, people assume that it is due to a person being overweight. However, being underweight affect fertility as well.
At Los Angeles Reproductive Center, we can help patients understand the link between weight and fertility, and offer tips for encouraging a healthy reproductive system. Contact our Los Angeles, CA practice to learn more.
Fertility Issues Associated with Being Underweight
Weight has a big impact on how the body functions. Weight can affect a wide range of health factors, including blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and hormone balance.
While many health issues can develop when a person is overweight, being underweight can also be an issue. Specifically, being underweight can have a negative impact on a person’s fertility. Data shows that women who have a BMI (body mass index) of 18.5 or less are twice as likely to take a year or more to become pregnant.
The primary way that being underweight compromises a woman’s fertility is by creating an imbalance in hormones that play a role in ovulation. Underweight women are more likely to miss periods or have an irregular menstrual cycle, both of which make it much more difficult to conceive.
Tips for Healthy Weight Gain
If a patient is underweight and wants to improve her overall health and promote a more regular menstrual cycle, she should try to gain weight. However, it is important that women keep their overall health in mind while they do this.
We do not advise patients to gain weight by increasing their intake of “empty” calories, or those foods that are high in fats and sugars. Instead, patients should consider healthy diet and lifestyle changes, such as:
- Eat more frequent meals throughout the day
- Choose options such as lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats
- Avoid filling up on liquids before meals
- Adopt an exercise routine that includes strength-building
For many underweight patients, some healthy weight gain is all that is needed to get the reproductive system back on track. However, if a woman continues to experience issues with fertility even after achieving a healthy BMI, it may be time to consider fertility treatment.
Our doctors offer a comprehensive range of fertility treatments that address male and female infertility, including in vitro fertilization. We are happy to recommend an appropriate fertility treatment plan based on each patient’s unique needs and desires.
If you are struggling to conceive, the experienced team of fertility specialists at Los Angeles Reproductive Center is here to help. Contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your fertility needs.