Dr. Aruna Ashok MBBS, MS OG, DNB OG
- Clinical Director
We all have heard that doing exercise regularly improves fertility. We have always associated fertility with physical fitness. The statement mentioned above has a point too in most cases. In some cases, excessive fitness reduces fertility in males and females.
Excessive fitness or excessive inactivity affects fertility in humans. Many people have had their fertility improved after stopping their excessive fitness. However weird it appears to be, it has been true in various cases.
Physical activity has always been helpful for the overall well-being of humans. Regular exercise helps in maintaining proper weight and improves cardiovascular health. But, in some cases, especially for females, excessive exercise has another effect.
The main effect is the lack of energy or energy deficit. When the available energy is not sufficient for the body to take care of its function, the reproductive system is highly sensitive. Body fat plays an important role in female fertility.
It is recommended that females should maintain a BMI of 20 to 24.9 for an optimum level of ovulation. Body fat of at least 17% is required for menarche and 22% is mandatory for maintaining ovulation. If the parameters fall below the minimum level, the ovulatory perturbations and menstrual anomalies become prominent and conception becomes difficult.
Excessive exercise does not cause infertility directly. Instead, the body tries to conserve energy, and metabolic adaptations are triggered by the energy deficiency. Such a condition alters the normal production and pulsatility of reproduction hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian Axis (HPO). Hence, the concentration of Estrogen and progesterone gets reduced. Such a condition is called Exercise Associated Menstrual Disturbances.
This results in a spectrum of exercise-associated menstrual disturbances, amenorrhea, and oligomenorrhea which is indicated by the delay in the menstrual cycle for at least three months or more. EAMD can be less severe which includes luteal phase defects and anovulation that occur within regular intermenstrual intervals and cause disturbances to remain undetected.
Suppressed follicular growth and maturation of the oocyte, low endometrial quality, and instantaneous abortion and some of the ill effects of EAMD. A healthy diet and body weight is one of the best ways to prevent EAMD. An increase in caloric intake and weight gain can help women to prevent EAMD by restoring energy deficiency and helping in the recovery of optimum menstrual function. Regular exercise is a commendable task to keep in check fitness factors. But, maintenance of energy levels is even more important. Exercise-induced Menstrual Disorders contribute to about 6% of infertility cases.
Intense exercise can cause a decrease in sperm concentration and motility in males. Being overweight can affect the quality and quantity of their sperm. When sperm concentration reduces, it might lead to infertility in males.
There are some simple physical recommendations to achieve pregnancy in case you feel that your lack of fertility is due to excessive exercise.
Reduce the intense exercise by not more than 4 hours.
Replace some of the heavy workouts with moderate exercises.
Reduce the strenuous activities to four hours per week, if weight loss is essential.
10% body weight reduction can help your body with improved fertility.
You can look at the positive change in fertility before setting your BMI to normal.. If your weight affects your fertility, contact A4 Fertility center. A4 Fertility center offers you intensive care in the physical and psychological aspects. Get your consultation with A4 Fertility Clinic and know your fertility status and get the best possible diagnosis and treatment.