Effects Of Diabetes On Reproductive Health
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Dr. Namita Kotia has been practicing infertility treatment at Aastha Fertility Care since 2010, and during this time, she has helped around 2000+ couples become parents through IVF treatment and also other assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods like ICSI, IUI, GIFT, etc. Dr. Namita provides her patients with the best possible care and treatment options.
Are you diabetic and worried about pregnancy? Will pregnancy be complicated if you have type 1 diabetes? Well, this blog clarifies how diabetes and infertility are related. Our patients having sugar problems can feel relieved that now they can have a normal pregnancy with expert guidance and special care.
Diabetes can cause many severe short-term and long-term health complications. One of them is that diabetes affects the reproductive health of both men and women. Diabetes can cause hormonal disruptions, leading to delayed or failed implantation or conception or even infertility in women. Also, diabetes is related to poor quality of sperm or low sperm count and embryo and DNA damage.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.
In our body, β cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans secrete a hormone called insulin that helps maintain normal glucose levels in the blood. Diabetes develops when the pancreas can’t make enough insulin or when your body stops responding to insulin, leading to diabetes. There are two main types of Diabetes: Type1 and Type2.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. According to the official website of the United States government, Your immune system erroneously attacks and kills the beta cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. The damage caused by this is permanent.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes starts with insulin resistance. Your body can’t utilize insulin efficiently, which stimulates your pancreas to produce more insulin until it can no longer keep up with demand. Hence, Insulin production decreases, which leads to high blood sugar.
Effects of Diabetes on Female Health Reproductive System
Diabetes and fertility in females are related. Diabetes affects women’s hearts, kidneys, nerves, and eyes; it also affects fertility in women. Diabetes can affect a women’s fertility in the following ways:
Genitourinary infections: In women, diabetes increases the risk of infection and damage to reproductive organs, especially the fallopian tubes.
Pregnancy complications: Diabetes can induce miscarriage or congenital disabilities in the fetus. Diabetes and excessive nutrition for the growing fetus can also result in macrosomia (big baby syndrome).
Decreased libido: Diabetes decreases the sexual desire in women because of tiredness, depression, and anxiety. Women might also experience pain and discomfort during sex because of less vaginal lubrication.
Effects of type 1 diabetes on female fertility?
Menstrual cycle disturbances and Menarche: Type 1 diabetes is associated with a longer cycle length that could be more than 31 days, more prolonged menstruation that could be more than six days, heavy bleeding, and menstrual issues at a younger age. Juvenile diabetes could cause delayed menarche.
Anovulation: Anovulation is the unavailability of ovulation when it should occur. You might not know that, but diabetes and ovulation are also related. A woman with diabetes and Low BMI will have irregular periods, which causes starving of cells and disrupt the hypothalamic pulsatile secretion of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), with a resultant decrease in the secretion of gonadotropins. It results in a lower luteinizing hormone (LH) and prolactin which plays a crucial role in reproduction.
Anti-sperm antibodies: Diabetes produces antibodies that can attack sperm and eggs.
Effects of type 2 diabetes on female fertility
Obesity and PCOS: Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in postmenopausal women, but due to modern dietary and lifestyle patterns, obesity is escalating, thus increasing the chances of Type 2 diabetes during the reproductive years.
In addition to irregular menstrual cycles, obesity is also linked to PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS is a metabolic condition characterized by excess androgens, cysts on the ovaries, and irregular menstrual cycles/lack of ovulation. Between 50% to 70% of women with PCOS also have insulin resistance.
In women with PCOS, lower adiponectin levels lead to poor sensitivity to insulin and fat breakdown. Thus, PCOS coexisting with diabetes and obesity could be a massive threat to fertility and reproductive health.
Effects of Diabetes on Male Health Reproductive System
Diabetes and fertility in males are also related. Diabetes can affect male fertility in the following ways:
Sexual dysfunction: Diabetes reduces a man’s ability to maintain an erection, which leads to infertility.
Decreased libido: Men could feel tired, weak, and have less sexual drive due to the lack of glucose in certain brain areas.
Effects of type 1 diabetes on male fertility
Sperm DNA damage: Type 1 diabetes could cause increased nuclear, mitochondrial, and DNA damage that may damage the reproductive capability of men.
Effects of type 2 diabetes on male fertility
Sperm quality: In addition to poor sperm concentration in semen and motility, Type 2 diabetes could cause structural damage to the sperm and its DNA.
Treatments for Infertility With Sugar Problem
If you have diabetes and it has already affected your reproductive health, you need to consult a fertility expert. Medications and Advanced Reproductive Technologies (ART) are available that could help treat infertility problems and successfully have a baby.
Infertility treatments usually begin with medications to stimulate ovulation in women and treat infections. It is generally sexual intercourse problems in men, such as erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. In many cases of PCOS, uterine fibroids, and traumatic injuries, surgical management is essential.
If there is a need for advanced technologies, sperm retrieval procedures and intracytoplasmic sperm injection will be used for men. Intrauterine Insemination, Assisted Laser Hatching, and In Vitro Fertilization for women.
You can consult Aastha Fertility Care for treatments and successful pregnancy.
Diabetes could affect men’s and women’s reproductive health adversely. But there is no need to worry; it can be treated easily. Aastha Fertility Care is the best fertility centre that can help you treat all the infertility problems and get pregnant successfully.