Can diabetes cause infertility in women?

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According to a study, India is among the top two countries with the highest number of diabetic population. Prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled for men in India and has also increased by 80 percent among women in India (4.6 percent to 8.3 percent). While there is increasing awareness about diabetes prevention and treatment, there isn’t much awareness about other problems that are caused by diabetes like early onset and increased severity in sexual and urological functions.

Diabetes can cause female infertility by delaying menarche (onset of menses for the first time) and this is intensified by the fact that high sugar causes rapid and premature ovarian aging as evidenced by an early menopause. Thus diabetes leads to shortening of a woman’s reproductive lifespan.

During the reproductive years, diabetes has consistently been associated with menstrual abnormalities as well. The risk of oligomenorrhea, or delayed periods, is directly proportional to the levels of blood glucose.

Uncontrolled diabetes may also negatively affect a growing egg’s micro-environment, thus compromising on ovarian hormone synthesis, ovulation, and the egg’s quality. Further, it may lead to infections of pelvic organs like the ovaries and the fallopian tubes, compromising on a woman’s fertility potential.

You might be wondering if there is any connection to being diabetic and infertility.
It is not necessary that diabetes is only the reason that keeps women from getting pregnant, but it is often the reason which keeps them from staying pregnant.

In many cases, a woman with higher than normal glucose levels does get pregnant month after month. Unfortunately, her diabetes status prevents that embryo from implanting in the uterus, causing a miscarriage before she ever realizes she is pregnant. In this case, the diabetes isn’t preventing conception but is preventing an ongoing pregnancy. High glucose levels are reported to increase a woman’s chances of miscarriage by 30-60% according to statistics released by the American Diabetes Association.

Even when implantation does occur, there are other risks to consider, including:

An increased risk of birth defects due to damage caused to embryonic cells from the high levels of glucose in the blood

A larger baby resulting in a c-section, which increases a mother’s chances of infection

An increased risk of gestational diabetes in the mother, which can cause other health concerns for both mother and baby

In addition to keeping an embryo from implanting, glucose levels that are too high can also affect hormone levels throughout the body including the all-important estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels needed for a pregnancy to occur. That is why glucose control is so vital to your fertility.

While there might be concerns if being diabetic, is it safe to conceive, there are ways you can prepare yourself for the pregnancy.

While it is important to understand the risks involved in high glucose levels and fertility, it is also important to understand that simply controlling your glucose levels, and getting (and keeping them) at a more normal level will reduce these risks and offer the opportunity for a safe and healthy pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby. With a good plan and dedication to eating right and staying healthy, your chances of giving birth are very high, despite a diabetes diagnosis.

The key to success is working with your obstetrician to ensure that your glucose levels remain stable months before trying to conceive as well as during a pregnancy. Endoworld Hospital with its world-class surgeons and best IVF treatment in Maharashtra is at your service to solve your female infertility issues.

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Dr. Pandit Palaskar

Dr. Pandit Palaskar is one of the best IVF doctors in India. He has vast experience of 20+ years with thousands of cases performed in the fields of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Infertility.

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