Diabetes is one of the most widespread illnesses in the world. The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates there are around 180 million diabetics around the world. Its own projections for the disease indicate a two-fold increase by 2030. Diabetes affects people of all ages, genders, and sexes. Type I diabetes cases are increasing at a rate of 3% each year while Type II diabetes is rampant in the younger generation due to obesity, heightened stress and other aspects of a faulty lifestyle.
However, diabetes also poses a risk to your fertility. If you are a diabetic woman, or on the verge of the illness, and fail to achieve pregnancy even after consistent efforts, you should know how diabetes affects your fertility in different ways.
How much of an impact does diabetes have on infertility?
While it’s true that diabetes does affect fertility, it’s existence alone cannot prevent you from getting pregnant. Diabetes is of a chronic nature. This means with adequate care, you can lead a mostly normal life. Getting pregnant is part of this. By controlling your blood glucose levels, you can tame diabetes to a great extent and ensure it doesn’t get in the way of you becoming a parent to a healthy child. This is often the first and most ideal recourse to IVF treatment in India or surrogacy treatment in India.
What are the different ways in which diabetes affects fertility?
As mentioned before, diabetes in itself doesn’t affect your fertility. But it does affect your fertility indirectly by impacting certain body functions that are closely related to your reproductive health. The conditions explained below are usually observed among diabetic women who fail to achieve pregnancy.
PCOS – Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome, abbreviated as PCOS, is a condition whereby a large number of cysts form on the ovaries. These cysts play havoc with a woman’s periods by either rendering them irregular or even completely absent. Consequently, this has a negative effect on the woman’s chances of getting pregnant. PCOS is largely seen in women suffering from obesity and type II diabetes.
Premature Menopause – Menopause is defined as the point after which a woman stops ovulating, i.e. stops getting her periods. Premature menopause is when a woman stops ovulating completely well before the age of 40. This condition is associated closely with type I diabetes.
Irregular/Absent Periods – A woman is said to be suffering from irregular periods when the time interval between her periods is 35 days or more. Periods are said to be absent when a woman with a normal cycle stops getting her periods for six months or longer.
Uterine Cancer (Endometrial Cancer) – Cancer of the uterine is more prevalent among women with PCOS and type II diabetes. If not treated in a timely manner, the disease can cause permanent infertility.
Cardiovascular/Microvascular Complications – A number of studies have proved that type II diabetic women who suffer from cardiovascular or microvascular complications tend to have much lower rates of fertility.
Autoimmune Disorders – Autoimmune diseases like orchitis, oophoritis and hypothyroidism are all known contributors to infertility. Oophoritis can accompany both types of diabetes while autoimmune diseases related to the thyroid are often seen together with type I diabetes.
Obesity – Type II diabetes has a known connection to obesity, which in turn directly affects a woman’s ovarian function and thereby, her ability to conceive naturally. Studies have shown that when obese women shed weight, their ovulation is seen to follow a more predictable pattern.
Controlling Diabetes is the Key
Now that it’s clear that even diabetic women can get pregnant, it’s important to keep the disease under control before trying to achieve pregnancy naturally. In fact, even centers offering the finest test tube baby treatment with the highest success rate of IVF in India has suggested a curbing of diabetes before any treatment is started. This helps regularize all your reproductive functions, which coincides with your attempts at getting pregnant.
- Body checkup & plan accordingly
Get a full body checkup done to see if all your reproductive functions are normal in both intensity and frequency. If anything is amiss and your diabetes and weight are above normal too then create a plan that focuses on bringing the two under control. Stick to this plan for a few months before attempting conception.
- Eat healthy & adopt an exercise regimen
This is the key to keeping your diabetes in check. A special diet rich in fiber and proteins ensures your sugar levels are maintained to normal levels. Similarly, an exercise regimen helps keep you healthy, which in turn directly influences the functioning of your reproductive system. As a bonus, it also keeps a lid on your glucose levels.
If you are not able to conceive your own child and have diabetes, remember that it’s not the end of the world. The disease does affect your fertility in the ways discussed above but at the same time, is not exclusively responsible for your failure to get pregnant. By taking the right measures, you can not only achieve pregnancy but carry it through successfully sans any complications.