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DNA
31 Aug 2012
Pune
city Doctors say number of such cases are on the rise; feel people are taking their bodies for granted

Married for three years, Reshma Shetty (name changed) went to more than a dozen doctors and tried several medications before finally hitting the gym to solve her fertility issues.

Heavily overweight, Shetty couldn’t conceive despite many attempts and most doctors had a single advice for her – lose weight.

But the Kalyaninagar resident didn’t think her complex fertility issues could have such a simple solution and she kept switching doctors until her husband decided to intervene.

Shetty enrolled in a lifestyle modification programme changing her diet pattern and making time for exercise, besides change in work schedule. Three months into her pregnancy, she now advises making lifestyle modifications than trying infertility treatments.

This isn’t an isolated case. Infertility experts across the city say that there is a sharp increase in young couples reporting problems in fertility simply because of lifestyle issues.

"People just don’t take advice seriously. Many couples come to us after 2–3 years of trying to conceive with no success. At the same time, their tests came out normal too. Sometimes treatment is as simple as losing weight and exercising," said Dr Leena Patankar, infertility consultant at Patankar Hospital.

"Obesity itself may not cause infertility but the complications arising out of it like hormonal complications, ovulation issues in women and deterioration in sperm quality in men are serious fertility issues," Dr Patankar added.

Dr Bharati Dhorepatil, infertility consultant at Shree Hospital and Pune Fertility Centre, said that modification in lifestyle is the first line of treatment that she follows in such patients.

"Nearly 15 of 100 couples need infertility treatment and the numbers are increasing. The problem is people take their bodies for granted. When you’re obese, you develop other problems like insulin resistance, women with polycystic ovaries have irregular periods and even sexual compatibility is affected then," Dr Dhorepatil said.

"When we tell patients at an early stage that lose weight and exercise, they think solutions can’t be so simple. But if you consider the number of patients we treat for infertility arising of neglect of lifestyle, it’s a big number," she added.

Besides sedentary lifestyles, doctors say another reason for rising infertility in young couples is stress. Infertility consultant Dr Anil Chittake at Aditya Birla Hospital quoted a recent study that said infertility amongst Indian men was on the rise.

"The fact is infertility in men and even women is increasing and not just in India but everywhere. Since the diseases remain the same, so what has changed? It is urbanisation, stressful lifestyle and loss of work-life balance. Even in our practice, we see a lot of young couples facing problem in conception because of job stress," Dr Chittake said.

"It may not affect directly but indirect correlation like no time to give each other, slump in relations especially in fertile period due to job stress, less interest in each other because of tiredness, different shift timings of spouses, etc. These are real problems that couples are dealing with and if we want to beat infertility, some serious lifestyle changes need to be considered too," he advised.

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