Diabetes has often been linked to several medical conditions. A person who has diabetes is easily susceptible to other health complications.
If you are a diabetic and thinking of starting a family, there are few health factors you should be aware of. One such concern is infertility. If you are dealing with this health issue, then you have come to the right place. This post gives you complete information about how diabetes leads to infertility and affects both the genders.
What Is Infertility?
It is possible to get pregnant and have a healthy baby even if you have diabetes. However, chances of infertility are also very high in those who have diabetes.
Infertility is a condition where you have been trying to conceive for 12 months, but were unable to get pregnant. About 10% of the population suffers from infertility. In fact, most infertility issues are treatable, with only about 10% of such cases being unresolved.
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Does Diabetes Affect Fertility?
Infertility that happens as a result of diabetes or insulin-related issues is quite common. Once your body digests food, a hormone known as insulin helps transport glucose (a form of sugar) through the bloodstream to your cells. This helps provide the body with energy.
- If you have diabetes or are insulin resistant, it means your body is going through a hormonal imbalance.
- If one of the hormones is not in balance, it can disrupt the levels of other hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
- This entire chain of imbalance can lead to issues like ovarian cysts, erectile dysfunction and infertility.
A diabetic body will react to insulin in the following ways:
- Type 1 Diabetes:In case of Type 1 diabetes, your body fails to produce insulin.
- Type 2 Diabetes: In case of Type 2 diabetes, your body will not be able to create enough insulin or your body’s cells will not react to insulin. It is also possible that your body may face both these issues.
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Diabetes And Infertility In Females:
Diabetes may not always stop you from getting pregnant, but it leads to miscarriage. This may happen even before you discover that you are pregnant. Diabetes often prevents the embryo from getting implanted in the uterus, leading to an early miscarriage.
As per the American Diabetes Association statistical report, in case you are diagnosed with high glucose levels, you are at a 30-60% higher chance of having a miscarriage. In cases where pregnancy has been confirmed, there are chances of having birth related issues.
A few issues that might occur are:
- Birth defects in the baby. This happens because high glucose levels in the blood cause damage to the embryonic cells.
- If the baby’s size is large, a C-sec operation needs to be performed. The surgery increases the risk of infection in the mother.
- The mother has a higher chance of contacting gestational diabetes. This often leads to other complications in both the mother and the baby.
Diabetes And Infertility In Male:
According to a team of scientists from the UK, men who have diabetes have a higher rate of DNA damage in their sperm than those who are not diabetic.
Men who are diabetic face certain medical issues related to ejaculation.
- Most men are diagnosed with a condition known as retrograde ejaculation. This means that when your body experiences ejaculation, instead of releasing sperm it goes back down to the penis and into the bladder. This can lead to permanent infertility.
- Diabetes in men can damage the blood vessels that supply the nerves. This results in damage to the nerve fibers that supply the penis.
- Many men are also diagnosed with erectile dysfunction that leads to infertility.
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Important Health Facts For Both Females And Males:
If you are diabetic and still want to conceive, there are a few things you need to take care of before you start trying:
- Maintaining your optimum blood sugar level
- Take care and monitor your insulin, HgbA1c and hemoglobin levels
- Check your weight. Maintain an optimum body weight as per your BMI.
- Regularly exercise and stay fit
- Eat healthy food and avoid junk
- Take vitamin supplements after checking with your doctor
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Hope by now you must have known how does diabetes affect fertility. While it is difficult to conceive if you are diagnosed with diabetes, there are still chances you may be able to start a family. Consult your doctor and get all the required tests done. Leading a healthy and active life is also important to overcome your battle with diabetes.
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