Female Infertility And Diabetes
Once a couple passes twelve months of trying to get pregnant with no success, and that means sex without the use of contraception 3 times a week or more, the couple is deemed infertile. When the couple seeks medical help, one of the first conditions the doctor will look for is diabetes, since the condition can cause fertility problems in both sexes.
But even when conception takes place in spite of diabetes, poor control of blood sugar can lead to recurrent miscarriages. Miscarriage occurs because the high levels of blood sugar are toxic to the developing embryo. This makes it crucial to explore diabetes as a cause for both infertility and recurrent miscarriage, and this is one of the first things a good diagnostician should explore. Both partners should be tested.
Diabetes can affect fertility in many different ways. In women with Type 1 diabetes, for instance, antibodies are produced that cause the woman's body to attack the male sperm as well as her own eggs. But diabetes also causes a general reduction in the function of the immune system making diabetics susceptible to various conditions.
Tuberculosis is one illness for which diabetics have an especial susceptibility. An infection with tuberculosis can invade the genital tract which in women, may cause the cervix to become sealed off to entry by the sperm, or an inflammation of the fallopian tubes that often leads to scarring and blockage.
Some diabetic women have a condition underlying their sugar problems. This condition is called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In PCOS, too much testosterone is produced and this affects the ability of the eggs to mature within the ovaries. Because women with PCOS develop insulin resistance, there are often ovulatory problems leading to irregular periods. Because of the irregularity of their cycles, cysts develop, which are fluid-filled cavities within the ovaries. Over time all of these issues make the thought of pregnancy begin to seem more and more distant.
However, insulin resistance can be controlled with diet, exercise, and drugs such as metformin. These lifestyle changes and adequate medical intervention may restore a woman's fertility. Once conception is achieved, the challenge is to control blood sugar levels so that the pregnancy can be carried to term.
Miscarriage isn't the only issue that is derived from high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Uncontrolled sugar may also lead to premature delivery as well as birth defects. Sometimes, high sugar levels leads to overly large babies which carry the potential of injuries to both mother and child during delivery.
If either partner in a couple who wants to conceive has diabetes, the couple is advised to schedule a preconception consultation. During such a visit, the doctor can advise a couple how to proceed to make sure that conception can occur as well as a healthy, successful pregnancy.