High blood sugar or diabetes can lead to several health ailments – not only does it affect the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves, high blood sugar can directly affect a person’s reproductive health as well. If you are planning to have a baby, it is important to keep blood sugar levels in check in order to avoid any problems during conception, the pregnancy period, and delivery.
High blood sugar and infertility
Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. But it does not only affect the way you digest your sugars. Its effects can be seen systematically in all organs of the body from eyes to skin to an increased probability of having infections and gangrene if the blood sugars are not kept in check. And this may have an impact on your fertility. Infertility due to diabetes is commonly seen in both men and women. “Infertility means the inability to conceive even after a year of trying for pregnancy. Diabetes can affect the ability to get pregnant and successfully have a baby. It causes hormonal disruptions which in turn can lead to delayed or failed implantation and/or conception. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can be associated with women with type I and II diabetes. It can lead to oligomenorrhea (irregular periods) or secondary amenorrhea (absence of periods). Diabetes and infertility may cause premature ovarian failure (premature menopause) in women,” said Dr Ritu Hinduja, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Mumbai.
Dr Hinduja added, “In men, Diabetes may lead to poor quality of sperm, and DNA damage. Diabetes at times can also lead to the narrowing of blood vessels which can also impact the penile region causing erectile dysfunction and infertility in males. Too much blood sugar levels may damage the sperm DNA and affect the sperm count and motility levels. Sometimes men with diabetes may have a low sperm count and experience decreased libido. In women, at times, it may lead to the absence of ovulation and affect egg quality. We receive at least 2 out of 30 couples aged 35-45 visiting in a month who have diabetes-led infertility.”
“There are many couples who face problems in conception because one of the partners/ both are having diabetes.40 percent of women with PCOS could develop prediabetes and 10 percent of women with PCOS tend to develop diabetes that could affect reproductive health and fertility in both men and women. Diabetes can invite problems such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS, menstrual irregularities, and abnormal thyroid function in women. While in men, diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, and low sperm count. A couple should go for a thorough evaluation before planning pregnancy, eat well, stay physically fit, and then conceive after checking all the health parameters. Doing so can ensure hassle-free pregnancy,” concluded Dr Pratima Thamke, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Kharghar.
Good news! Couples battling infertility can make THESE lifestyle changes
However, there is nothing to be alarmed about if your partner is having Diabetes. Diabetes doesn’t necessarily always lead to infertility. Thanks to ART technologies, couples who are battling infertility can be helped to a large extent. “Before conceiving, the couple should make sure to maintain the blood sugar levels within the recommended range, your BMI and body weight needs to be ideal for conception, exercise daily, eat a well-balanced diet exclusive of junk, oily, processed and canned food, quit smoking and alcohol, take supplements as per the doctor’s advice, rest enough and stay stress-free. Go for regular health check-ups and follow-ups with the treating doctor. Speak to a gynaecologist if trying to conceive for them to shift you to medications that are safer in pregnancy and also offer tighter control of blood sugar. If incase you are unable to conceive with unprotected sexual intercourse for a year, please consult a fertility consultant, who can help you with the right kind of fertility treatment.” highlighted Dr Hinduja.