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Is prediabetes associated with infertility in men?

Researchers conducted a study to find out the association of the prevalence and risk of prediabetes with infertility in men.

Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive despite unprotected sexual intercourse for a period of more than 12 months. It is estimated that about 15% of all couples are infertile and infertility in men is responsible for half of the cases.

Infertility in men and impaired glucose metabolism

Recent studies have shown that infertility in men may lead to lower general health status and a higher risk of developing tumors and age-related diseases such as heart and metabolic disorders. A number of studies have shown the relation between infertility in men and impaired glucose metabolism. Glucose metabolism is necessary for testicular function as well as the quality and development of sperms. Moreover, abnormal glucose metabolism has been shown to affect the reproductive function. Many preclinical and clinical studies have shown the harmful impact of diabetes on semen function and parameters as well as sex steroids.

Prediabetes is a common metabolic condition which is characterized by a mild increase in blood sugar and is a high risk factor for diabetes. Prediabetes impairs the fasting glucose levels, glucose tolerance he function of cells secreting insulin. It is believed that a mild increase in glucose levels in the blood associated with prediabetes might be responsible for damage to reproductive functioning and infertility in men.

Researchers recently conducted a study to evaluate the prevalence of and factors associated with prediabetes in European men and find out the impact of prediabetes on semen parameters and the hormonal environment in them. The findings of this study were published in BJU International.

Prediabetes is associated with older age, higher FSH values, and absence of sperm

They collected and analyzed data from 744 infertile men. Semen analysis was based on the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria and prediabetes was defined according to criteria given by the American Diabetes Association. Sperm volume, concentration, motility, structure, and sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI) were evaluated. PreDM was found in 114 men (15.4%) of the total participants.

It was observed that older age, higher follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and absence of sperm in semen were associated with prediabetes. Age, FSH values, and absence of sperm in semen can be considered as useful parameters to identify men with prediabetes and help in implementing early preventive measures in men at risk of poor glucose control.

Written by Pratibha Duggal

Reference: Boeri, L., Capogrosso, P., Ventimiglia, E., Pederzoli, F., Frego, N., Cazzaniga, W., Chierigo, F., Alfano, M., Piemonti, L., Viganò, P. and Pontillo, M., 2018. Undiagnosed prediabetes is highly prevalent in primary infertile men–results from a cross‐sectional study. BJU international.

Pratibha Duggal
Pratibha Duggal
Pratibha Duggal has a post-graduate degree in pharmaceutical chemistry. She is currently pursuing a post-graduate diploma in clinical research, pharmacovigilance, and regulatory affairs from the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences in Toronto, Canada. She started her career as a pharmacovigilance scientist and is an expert on drug safety. She recently switched careers to become a medical writer and now has more than three years of experience in this field. She enjoys being a part of the Medical News Bulletin team and contributing to educating readers about the latest research in the medical field.


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