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Keywords:

  • obesity;
  • hyperandrogenism;
  • inferility

Abstract

Although a critical mass of adipose tissue is essential for the normal development of female reproductive function, obesity has been shown to produce menstrual disturbances and subfertility. The severity of obesity and the distribution of fat tissue are important factors that influence the female reproductive system. The pathogenetic mechanistic links between them aren’t clearly elucidated. Obese women, especially those with upper body obesity, have insulin resistance and hyperinsulinaemia, hyperandrogenaemia, increased peripheral aromatization of androgens to oestrogens, altered gonadotrophin secretion, decreased sex hormone binding globulin, decreased growth hormone (GH) and insulin like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs), increased leptin levels and altered neuroregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. These have been considered as some of the links in the sequence of events of the disrupted ovulatory process. The mechanisms of these actions and their influence on female reproductive function are discussed below.