Insulin Resistance and How It Can Affect Fertility

Dr. Randy Morris

Insulin Resistance and How It Can Affect Fertility

Dr. Randy Morris

Insulin resistance is a relatively common cause of female infertility, particularly among people who are overweight. Treating insulin resistance can often make it possible for a woman to get pregnant, although sometimes additional fertility treatments are necessary. Below, we will take a look at the link between insulin resistance and infertility.

Insulin Resistance Basics

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which signals the body to reduce blood sugar by taking more sugar into the cells. When the body becomes resistant to insulin, blood sugar rises. Insulin resistance may be caused by:

  • Type 2 diabetes - Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, resulting in consistently elevated blood sugar levels, and often complications due to the elevated blood sugar.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome - Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which cysts grow on the ovaries, resulting in a number of effects on the woman's hormonal levels, fertility, and weight. PCOS commonly causes insulin resistance and infertility, as well as a wide range of other symptoms.
  • Obesity - Being obese in and of itself can cause insulin resistance. As many as 25-50% of overweight adults have insulin resistance. Obese people are more prone to infertility, especially those who are insulin resistant. Obese people are also at an elevated risk of both Type 2 diabetes and PCOS.

Insulin Resistance and Infertility

Insulin resistance often causes women to ovulate irregularly or to not ovulate at all, which can result in infertility. Some common signs of irregular ovulation include not having periods, having periods only frequently, or having an irregular length of time between periods.

Treatment for Insulin Resistance

Sometimes, treating insulin resistance can bring a return of regular ovulation. Other times, a combination of treating the insulin resistance and doing fertility treatments is required for a woman to get pregnant. Some common treatments used in insulin resistance include:

  • Medication - Medications like Metformin are often prescribed to Type 2 diabetics and PCOS patients to help control blood sugar.
  • Exercise - Exercise increases cells' sensitivity to insulin, and regular exercise can be extremely helpful in lowering insulin resistance.
  • Weight control - Losing 5 to 10% of your body weight can improve blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Weight loss can help lower your risk of serious diseases. In many cases, Type 2 diabetes goes into remission given sufficient weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes.
  • Fertility treatments - Fertility treatments like Clomid are the most effective at helping women achieve a live birth. Even if fertility treatments are used, adhering to treatments designed to treat the insulin resistance can help you have a healthy pregnancy and be as healthy as possible in the long-term.

If you have insulin resistance and are infertile, Dr. Randy Morris would be happy to meet with you. To schedule your consultation today, please click below and enter your information or call IVF1 at (630) 357-6540.