Obesity and its effect on reproductive function

Hippokratia 2000, 4(3):128-135

DK. Panidis, FV Gkoutzioulis


Obesity has significant consequences for the reproductive system, depending upon the amount and distribution of body fat. Epidemiological evidence clearly shows that being overweight contributes to menstrual disorders, infertility, miscarriage, poor pregnancy outcome, and impaired fetal well-being. Central adiposity is particularly important in clinical sequelae associated with an increased body mass index. The advent of assisted reproduction highlights the problem of being overweight, and the use of gonadotrophins in ovulation induction and in vitro fertilization is more difficult when the subject is overweight. Weight loss has marked effects on improving the menstrual cycle and promoting spontaneous ovulation and fertility. The mechanisms for this are unclear, but may be associated with changes in sensitivity to insulin.