Insulin resistance affects all key fertility events—ovulation, fertilisation, and embryo implantation. It also affects sperm quality. Sadly, it can even cause first trimester miscarriages and infertility.
Insulin resistance wrecks havoc on your ovaries
Insulin is a hormone. Ovaries are covered with insulin receptors. Healthy insulin levels are essential to ovarian health.
High circulating levels of insulin and lipids (fat) will affect your other reproductive hormones, consequently, delaying or even suppressing ovulation. This can lead to irregular cycles. A classic example of the effect of insulin resistance on ovaries is PCOS.
Accelerates ovarian ageing
More advanced insulin resistance may lead to Type 2 diabetes. Uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes can cause small blood vessel damage in your ovaries. This is bound to reduce healthy ovarian blood circulation. Reduced blood flow is a feature of ageing ovaries, and is likely one of the reasons for declining egg quality.
As a result of the damaging effects of insulin resistance, women with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to enter menopause earlier.
Increases risk of miscarriage
Insulin resistance on sperm quality
In conclusion, insulin resistance in men with unexplained infertility may be a cause of reproductive and metabolic abnormalities. The benefit of insulin-sensitizing agents for these patients should be explored.
Insulin resistance and IVF
Insulin resistance is also a hurdle when trying IVF. Studies show that IVF isn’t enough to avoid the harm caused by insulin resistance. Consequently, women with insulin resistance are more likely to lose pregnancy after IVF treatments. Miscarriage is a traumatic experience. And it is especially distressing for women who achieve pregnancy through the highly invasive, expensive, and stressful treatments.
Another important aspect, IVF patients with insulin resistance may require higher doses of gonadotropins and have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Can insulin resistance cause PCOS? Can PCOS lead to insulin resistance? We don’t know.
Either way, the majority of women with PCOS will experience some degree of insulin resistance. The bodies of women with PCOS can make insulin but can’t use it effectively. Excess insulin tells the ovaries to make more testosterone. Insulin and testosterone fuel each other’s production.
Excess testosterone and insulin aggravate PCOS symptoms and compromise fertility:
- Suppress ovulation
- Reduce the number of menstrual cycles
- Accelerate egg decline
- Promote ovarian growth and cyst formation
- Increase risk of early miscarriage
- Increase recurrent pregnancy loss
- Cause pregnancy complications
- May prevent the lining of the uterus from developing properly
How to optimise your fertility by breaking the cycle of insulin resistance
We need to figure out the best way for each person to break the insulin resistance cycle.
As you can see from the paragraphs above, healthy insulin levels are essential when trying to conceive. Additionally, insulin resistance and its harmful effects can be passed onto future generations. Impaired glucose tolerance in mothers has been linked to insulin resistance in babies.
To sum up, the lifestyle changes you are going to make today:
- Can help you to fall and stay pregnant,
- Will improve the health of your future children,
- Optimising your health before pregnancy will reduce the risk of your kids having difficulties making babies.