Ovarian Follicle Development: A new study hints obese women having their normal and regular mensural cycles often have to deal with suppressed ovarian follicle development issue in the long run.
They also have to deal with less production of major reproductive hormones like progesterone.
As a woman has a decreased production of reproductive hormones, it’s likely to lead reduced fertility.
As per a study, a woman’s luteal phase defects (LPD) will be more prevalent with obesity. It means obesity in a woman may trigger less production of reproductive hormones along with low fertility rates.
Although, reasons are still unclear how obesity adversely affects a woman’s reproductive health, the same issue has been seen in obese women having normal and regular menstrual cycles.
The results were shared by Marla Lujan, Ph.D., of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
“This study provides new and fundamental knowledge related to ovarian function in the context of obesity,” Lujan said. “This knowledge may be used to inform improvements in current contraception and infertility treatments, both of which are known to be suboptimal in women with obesity.”
What Are Ovarian Follicle?
Ovarian follicles are basically tiny sacs found in a woman’s ovary. This is why they are termed as ovarian follicles.
These follicles are filled with an immature egg along with a fluid. When the ovulation happens, a mature ova (egg) is released from a follicle.
How Obesity Linked to Suppressed Ovarian Follicle Development?
The research carried out as many as 20 women suffering from obesity. They aged between 19 to 38 years having regular and normal mensural cycles.
All these women were assessed one by one using the technique called ultrasound imaging. They were specifically analyzed from one ovulation to the next. At the time of the assessment, their follicle size along with size were noted down.
In addition to the above, blood samples of each woman were taken to analyze their hormonal levels.
In case when a woman lacks the formation of a reproductive hormone progesterone (also called luteal hormone), it leads to a defect called Luteal phase defect (LPD). The same also happens when the lining of uterus fails to respond to progesterone.
This is what the author of this report Alexis Oldfield has to say, “Our research provides evidence that follicle development is suppressed with obesity and that alterations in distinct stages of follicle development are associated with reduced reproductive hormone production,” he said.
“This is the first comprehensive comparison of follicle growth in non-obese versus obese populations during natural menstrual cycles,” she said. “These data are unique and innovative in showing that even in those with self-reported regular menstrual cycles, ovarian physiology is compromised with obesity.” he disclosed further.