Reproductive Health

KicStart™ and Reproductive Health

Whilst many men may be aware of the problems caused by obesity for their general health, unfortunately its' effects on sexual dysfunction (difficulties achieving and maintaining an erection) and reduced sexual desire are often less commonly discussed.

Treatment studies historically indicate an increase in sexual activity and less sexual dysfunction in men after a weight-loss intervention. But it's not just men who are affected.

The relationship between obesity and infertility in women remains unclear but it has been suggested that carrying excess weight can cause disturbances in sex hormones that can lead to menstrual irregularities. Being overweight during pregnancy has also been reported to increase rates of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure), blood clots and sleep apnoea. Deliveries in obese women have higher rates of complications and the babies are more likely to require admission to neonatal intensive care and to have congenital abnormalities.

Studies have shown that even a small weight loss (an average of 6.3 kg) for women results in an improvement in ovulation, pregnancy rates and pregnancy outcomes.

Men's Health KicStart™ study

A study has been conducted at the University of Adelaide determining the effect of weight loss using KicStart™ on erectile function, sexual desire and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in 34 obese but otherwise seemingly healthy men. All participants lost weight and had improved LUTS and sexual desire, whilst sexual function improved in 31 out of the 34.

Women's Health KicStart™ study

A study is also currently underway at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital using KicStart™ to measure the impact of a weight loss program on pregnancy rates in obese women prior to undertaking IVF treatment and to develop an effective weight loss protocol that can potentially be implemented in other centres for obese women about to undertake IVF treatment. This study proposes to be the first randomised controlled trial aimed at demonstrating the effect on pregnancy rates of a prior weight loss program for obese women undertaking IVF. It is anticipated that a significant advantage will be seen in terms of a reduction in the number of IVF cycles undertaken on average to achieve a pregnancy, a reduced personal burden of fertility treatment and a reduced public and personal healthcare expenditure per successful IVF pregnancy. Weight loss prior to pregnancy would also be expected to have long-term beneficial effects on metabolic, obstetric and perinatal outcomes, with attendant reduction in personal suffering and healthcare cost.

Click here to read a newpaper article about this study.