couple holding hands

Prediabetes and Infertility in Men

A couple typically receives their infertility diagnosis after not conceiving for one year of unprotected sex. When it comes to infertility, women often feel societal pressure to conceive. However, 40-50% of infertility is due to male factors. 1 New research released in 2018 may also give new insight into why some men are unable to impregnate their partners. This condition, prediabetes, is often undetected and underdiagnosed.

 

What is prediabetes?

 

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal. However, these levels are not as high as when type 1 or type 2 diabetes is present. These levels indicate that the body isn’t using its own supply of insulin efficiently.  

 

What does the research show?

 

In the study, researchers checked the glucose levels of 744 men who had not impregnated their partners after 12 months. 15.4% of the participants had fasting and after-meal blood glucose levels in the prediabetes category. 2 This is between 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) and 125 mg/dl at fasting. At two hours after drinking 75 grams of glucose, it is between 140 and 199 mg/dl. It can also be measured by having an average blood glucose reading, known as a hemoglobin A1C reading, of at least 5.7%.

 

What is the link between prediabetes and infertility?

 

Without treatment or positive lifestyle changes, prediabetes can become type 2 diabetes. Diabetes affects overall sperm quality. Sperm motility also decreases. Sperm DNA integration is affected and semen volume decreases as well.

 

What factors increase the risk of prediabetes?

 

Always take prediabetes seriously. It’s a warning sign that you may develop type 2 diabetes. Those who meet any of the following criteria are more likely to have prediabetes according to the Center for Disease Control:

 

Having a close family member with type 2 diabetes

Age in the mid-forties or older

Exercising less than three times a week

Weighing over the recommendation for your height

Being of certain ethnicities: Hispanic/Latino, African-American, Pacific Islander, Native American, and some Asian American ethnicities

 

How can men combat prediabetes?

 

According to the American Diabetes Association, weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes can help lower blood glucose levels into the nondiabetic range. This range is less than 100 mg/dl at fasting and not higher than 126 mg/dl two hours after eating.

 

Some recommended lifestyle changes include:

 

Losing 5 to 7% of your current body weight

Cooking foods with less fat by roasting, broiling, grilling, steaming or baking rather than frying

Exercising for at least 30 minutes at least five days a week

 

 

Are you diabetic? Learn about diabetic care at CCMH by visiting CcmhHealth.com/Diabetes-Services.

 

Sources

 

1 Naina Kumar and Amit Kant Singh. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Trends of male factor infertility, an important cause of infertility: A review of literature. 2015 October.

 

2 Luca Boeri, Paolo Capogrosso,  Eugenio Ventimiglia, et al.  BJUI International. Undiagnosed prediabetes is highly prevalent in primary infertile men – results from a cross‐sectional study. 16 October 2018.

 

Disclaimer

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

couple sitting near lake

Battling Infertility

April 21-27 commemorates National Infertility Week. Infertility can be a difficult journey that leaves many individuals feeling hopeless and alone. Many describe it as seeming like everyone else around them is happily enjoying life while their lives are frozen in a place they never wanted to visit.

 

While discussing this topic, we had an opportunity to visit with couples in our area who have had their own struggles with infertility. We appreciate them taking the time to share their own thoughts with us on this subject.

 

Who experiences infertility?

 

Infertility is often viewed as a female problem and a problem that mainly affects older women trying to conceive. However, infertility is not biased, and it can affect men and women of various ages. Approximately one-third of infertility issues are from a female partner.  One- third of issues are from a male partner, and one-third of issues are caused by both partners or the cause is unknown. 1

 

Men need support in infertility too. Paul and his wife struggled to conceive and also experienced a miscarriage. He said, “It was very sad and disappointing. I felt like there was nothing I could do to make that time any easier for my wife.”

 

Infertility is an emotional rollercoaster

 

Some days someone may feel positive during their infertility battle, other days they won’t. Beware of this and know some days are just bad days. There isn’t anything you can do sometimes but offer a hug and lend an ear, but your friend will still appreciate the sentiment.

 

Samantha suffered a miscarriage and then waited for years to be able to conceive again. When asked for ways to cope with all the emotions, Samantha responded, “Infertility is painful. It’s such a close, personal heartache. A piece of your heart is missing that you didn’t know existed. Find someone that has experienced it, that you can open up to, cry with, and be angry with them. Cling to them. Find happiness in the daily tasks. If you want ice cream, buy a gallon of it. Find your faith and hold on tight. Never give up.”

 

Be careful when sharing good news

 

Knowing others conceive easily when it seems to be anything but simple to someone with infertility, can make a pregnancy announcement sting. It isn’t that your friend isn’t incredibly happy for you, but he or she just wishes their own good news would come.

 

Big surprises in large groups of people can make it difficult for those in an infertility battle to process their emotions. You may consider speaking with them privately so you can also express how much you hope this day comes for them too.

 

“Don’t hide it if you become pregnant,” shared Angela.  Angel and her husband have battled infertility for years, gone through the adoption process and attempted in vitro fertilization (IVF). “Though it’s hard to hear, it’s even harder to hear about a friend being pregnant from someone other than your friend,” she said. “Be upfront. We will put on a happy face though we’re hurting inside. It’s ok. We will grieve the life we hoped we would have, wishing that was us, and then carry on to be excited for you.”

 

 

Beware of language that triggers emotions

 

Be sensitive to the fact that conversations focusing on children or a pregnancy may be difficult. Never complain about children or even jokingly say, “Be glad you don’t have kids!” Try to steer conversations with friends in different directions so your friend doesn’t feel so left out while everyone discusses parenting struggles or their child’s milestones.

 

Never start a sentence with “At least…” Statements like “At least you can get pregnant” after a loss or “At least it happened early,” or “At least you don’t have to gain weight from a pregnancy,” do nothing but invalidate how someone else feels.

 

Lastly, avoid statements such as, “It wasn’t (or “it isn’t”) meant to be.” Not only is this hurtful, but it may also make the individual feel they somehow deserve these difficult circumstances.

 

Don’t try to fix it

 

There are days those struggling with infertility wish to talk about it. Other days they may not feel up to it. When you know life feels especially difficult, always let a friend know you would love to just listen.

 

“Just being a friend is the best thing someone can do,” said Angela. “Don’t try to fix the situation that can’t be fixed. Trust me, anyone going through infertility has already tried everything to fix themselves and the situation they are in. We don’t want to be in it. Just listening and offering hugs and sincere thoughts of ‘that really must be tough’ is all we need.”

 

Don’t avoid them

 

If you don’t know what to say, just give a hug and let her know you are thinking of her. Your support may help more than you know.

 

Sarah responded about her own struggles with a miscarriage followed by over more than a year of waiting to conceive again. She said, “I remember coming back to work after my miscarriage and feeling shocked that so many of my coworkers seemed to avoid me. I had just suffered the most devastating loss of my life, and the majority of them wouldn’t even look me in the eye. A few people didn’t even say anything but gave me a big hug. It helped a lot.”

 

 

During this time as we remember those struggling with their journey to grow their families and anytime you know someone is facing this difficult battle, we want to encourage you to reach out to them. Infertility is a battle that is hardest when the couple facing it feels alone.

 

Infertility is typically diagnosed after a couple has tried unsuccessfully to conceive for twelve months or longer and / or has experienced more than one consecutive miscarriage or stillbirth. If you are struggling to conceive, one of our providers would love to meet with you. Please reach out and make an appointment with MMG Obstetrics and Gynecology.

 

*Names have been changed of some of the individuals interviewed for this article to respect their privacy.

 

Source

1 US Department of Health and Human Services: National Institute of Health. How common is male infertility, and what are its causes? 1 Dec. 2016.

 

Disclaimer


The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.


While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.