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Nutr Clin Care. 2002 Nov-Dec;5(6):290-7.

The obese patient with infertility: a practical approach to diagnosis and treatment.

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Reproductive Medicine Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, South Australia, Australia.


Overweight and obesity are serious and prevalent conditions in Western countries and carry many health consequences, including reproductive dysfunction. In particular, excess fat in the abdominal area is strongly related to disorders of the reproductive system. Moderate weight loss and reduction of abdominal fat improves menstrual regularity, ovulation, and infertility in women. This may be etiologically related to insulin resistance, particularly in a subset of infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome. As such, weight loss should be promoted as an initial treatment option for obese women with infertility. However, the most effective method for achieving and maintaining weight loss is unclear. Gradual weight loss is best achieved through a sensible eating plan that can be maintained over long periods of time. The likelihood of maintaining weight loss is increased when diet is combined with regular exercise, cognitive behavior therapy, and a supportive group environment. Adoption of these principles in a primary healthcare setting can therefore aid in treatment of infertility related to obesity.

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