London: Slimming down helps obese women, who want to become mothers, not because it boosts ovulation but simply because it increases their sexual appetite, researchers say.
A team of researchers from Penn State College of Medicine studied how weight-loss surgery affected reproductive function in a group of morbidly obese women.
“Obesity in women has been linked to lack of ovulation and thus infertility,” the Daily Mail quoted study leader Dr Richard Legro as saying.
“Obesity, especially centred in the abdomen, among infertile women seeking pregnancy is also associated with poor response to ovulation induction and with decreased pregnancy rates,” he said.
The team took urine samples to measure ovarian hormones over the course of a menstrual cycle and were surprised to find that ovulation rates remained high among the 29 women taking part in the study.
They remained at more than 90 percent at all time points before surgery and up to two years afterwards.
The quality of the ovulation also remained unaltered. The only change seen was a shortening of the first half of the menstrual cycle, from the end of the previous menstrual flow until the release of the egg
However, questionnaires filled in by the participants revealed losing the pounds had a dramatic impact on libido, with large increases in sexual desire and arousal. The researchers said this may have led the women to have sex more often.
“The effects of weight loss on reproductive function are more modest than we hypothesized. In terms of ovulation, there doesn’t appear to be a window after surgery where fertility is improved,” Dr Legro said.
“The door appears to be open at all times. Other factors may be involved with infertility in obese women, such as diminished sexual desire and thus less intercourse,” he said.
The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.