Obesity might be ruining your sexual health
Obesity in men can impact testosterone levels, sperm count, and onset of puberty, and thus affects sexual health, writes Dr PARAMJIT SINGH KAHLON
Obesity is emerging as one of the major health challenges that is emerging almost as a pandemic worldwide, especially in the developed countries. Obesity has been linked with ill health and life-threatening diseases like heart problems, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, osteoarthritis, and even colon and breast cancer.
Even though obesity has been linked to a number of fatal diseases and other health problems, its
connection and impact on sexual health has not been explored as intensely as it should have been. It has been indicated in a number of medical, psychological, and social studies that obesity has a strong correlation with and impact on the sexual well being of an individual irrespective of their gender.
Lower Testosterone Levels
Men who are overweight or obese are more likely to have lower levels of testosterone when compared to men who are within a healthy weight range. Inversely, it is also true that men who have lower levels of the hormone are likely to be overweight or even obese. One of the most basic reasons for this is that fat cells have the ability to metabolise the testosterone or male hormone to estrogen or the female hormone.
Also it is worth noting that excessive weight lowers the levels of SHBG or sex hormone binding globulin. SHBG is a kind of protein that is responsible for carrying testosterone in the blood which means lowers levels of SHBG is responsible for lower levels of testosterone. A great number of studies have linked higher BMI to lower testosterone levels, but it has also been indicated through studies that weight loss can address the issue quite effectively.
Special research and studies have concluded that erectile dysfunction is more common among obese men of the same age range. In addition to that it has also been established that conditions like hypertension which are linked to obesity are also responsible for erectile dysfunction. Obesity has been linked to the self-esteem and emotional state of an individual but in case of men, the impact of obesity on sexual dysfunction is entirely physical. Obesity lowers the stamina which makes it difficult for men to last long in bed.
Onset of Puberty
Puberty is the time when the bodies of teenagers gain sexual maturity. Studies conducted on teenagers indicate that obesity might have an impact on the onset of these pubertal changes. It has been discovered that obesity advances puberty in girls and delays it among boys. The reason for this is that obesity alters the leptin and insulin levels in the child.
Among men obesity has been directly connected to a low sperm count and lower sperm motility leading to male infertility. Studies have established that for every three point increase in BMI, there are 10 per cent more chances of the couple suffering from infertility. Among women, obesity has been linked to Polycystic Ovaries Disorder (PCOD), thyroid, and other conditions which are linked to infertility. For obese women, it is a lot more difficult to conceive when compared to those who are of a healthy body weight.
THE Social Impact
Obesity is linked to lower self esteem, self-consciousness and body image issues among women. It is for this reason that many women either shy away from any sexual activity, or develop an aversion to it. It is important, however, for the medical caregivers to help obese individuals suffering from sexual health issues rectify these issues and encourage them to adopt a healthier lifestyle and try and lose the excess body weight.
The writer is Consultant General, laparoscopic surgery, Amandeep Hospital
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