Lifestyle issues such as smoking, weight issues on both ends of the spectrum, excessive alcohol consumption and excessive exercise can have an impact on menstrual function and fertility.
Now a study from the University of Utah have achieved an important success in treating obese infertile couples.
Obesity in both men and women can have an adverse effect on fertility. Both obesity and infertility can also be challenging psychologically. In order to try to help patients suffering from both, this research team enrolled 15 couples in a study. Four couples were in a control group who received standard weight loss counseling, including regular office visits with a physician and a nutritionist. 11 couples were enrolled in an intense program of a low calorie diet, exercise, weekly physician visits and twice weekly emotionally focused couples counseling sessions.
The results are impressive: after 11 months of follow up, 8 of the 11 couples in the intense treatment group had gotten pregnant, none of the control group had. Half of the pregnancies were spontaneous, 2 included the use of fertility drugs and 2 used infertility drugs and insemination. The treatment group also had a 2 to 4 fold greater level of weight loss than the controls.
“Sometimes, advice alone is not enough. This research points to a conclusion that sometimes stronger interventions are required to help patients.” said Rick Paulson, MD President-elect of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
If you are struggling with obesity and not succeeding either in losing significant amounts of weight or not getting pregnant, or both, it may be beneficial to talk to your doctor about a referral for this type of emotional counseling.
If you think that other lifestyle issues may be affecting your or your partner’s fertility speak to your doctor about getting help with lifestyle modifications. It may not only help your fertility issues, but it may also make your pregnancy safer and easier for you.
Please check our Lifestyle & Fertility pages for more specific information.