Obesity may increase the risk of certain reproductive disorders in women
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing reproductive disorders in women, however, the roles and mechanisms of obesity in causing reproductive disorders are unclear. A study published on February 1 in OLP Medicine by Samvida Venkatesh from the University of Oxford, UK and colleagues suggest an etiological link between obesity and a range of female reproductive conditions, but the extent of this link differs between conditions.
Female reproductive disorders are common conditions affecting the health and well-being of many people. However, the role of obesity in the development of female reproductive conditions is understudied. To investigate the causal associations between obesity, metabolic hormones, and female reproductive disorders, researchers conducted a Mendelian randomization study of 257,193 women of European descent between the ages of 40 and 69. They accessed records from UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database containing participants’ medical, environmental and genetic information. The researchers then created a statistical model to estimate the association of body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio with the risk of many female reproductive conditions, including endometriosis, heavy menstrual bleeding, pre-eclampsia and infertility.
Researchers have found observational associations between obesity and a range of female reproductive disorders, including uterine fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome, heavy menstrual bleeding and pre-eclampsia. They also found that some inherited genetic variations associated with obesity are also associated with reproductive impairment in women, but the strength of these associations differs by type of obesity and reproductive status. The study had several limitations, such as the low prevalence of female reproductive disorders among participants and the lack of data on body mass index and waist-hip ratio before disease onset.
According to the authors, “We provide genetic evidence that generalized and central obesity play an etiological role in a wide range of female reproductive conditions, but the extent of this link differs significantly between conditions. results suggest the need to explore the mechanisms mediating the causal associations of overweight and obesity on gynecological health in order to identify targets for disease prevention and treatment”.
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Venkatesh SS, Ferreira T, Benonisdottir S, Rahmioglu N, Becker CM, Granne I, et al. (2022) Obesity and risk of female reproductive disorders: a Mendelian randomization study. PLoS Med 19(2): e1003679. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003679
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