Read how high blood pressure can impact fertility in men and women and discover potential treatment options to improve your chances of conceiving.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) can affect fertility in both males and females.
- In males, hypertension may be linked to changes in sperm characteristics, such as reduced semen volume and lower sperm mobility.
- In females, hypertension may lead to problems with embryo implantation and development and an increased risk of miscarriage.
- Some medications used to treat hypertension may also affect fertility.
- It is important to discuss any potential fertility concerns with a medical professional and carefully manage blood pressure to improve fertility chances and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy.
Fertility is an important aspect of reproductive health, and various factors can impact the ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term.
One such factor is high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension is a common condition that can have a severe impact on overall health, and it is essential to understand how it may affect fertility.
In this article, we will explore how hypertension can impact fertility and the potential role of medications used to treat hypertension.
Yes, high BP can affect your reproductive health. These fertility issues can be experienced by both male and female individuals. The medications used to treat high blood pressure may also affect fertility.
According to a study, there is a statistically significant increase in the risk of pregnancy loss (miscarriage) for every 10 mmHg increase in diastolic blood pressure. Specifically, this risk was found to rise by 18%.
Healthy sperm is essential for a successful pregnancy, as they must be able to fertilize an egg during conception. However, hypertension has been shown to affect sperm quality in men, potentially leading to lower sperm count and reduced fertility.
Men with hypertension may experience several changes in their sperm characteristics, including:
- Reduced semen volume,
- Reduced sperm mobility,
- Reduced total sperm count, and
- Reduced mobile sperm count
- Abnormal sperm structure
For conception to occur, sperm must be able to travel through the female reproductive system and fertilize the egg. This involves the sperm swimming up through the cervix, uterus, and into the fallopian tube to reach the egg.
If sperm cannot move effectively, either due to low motility or other issues, fertilization may not occur.
Also, to be healthy, sperm must have adequate concentration, quality, and motility. Hypertension can disrupt normal testicular function, cause oxidative stress, and alter hormone production, negatively affecting sperm production.
It is worth noting that certain medications used to control high blood pressure, such as angiotensin receptor inhibitors and calcium channel blockers, may also impact fertility.
Beta-blockers, another class of antihypertensive drugs, have been associated with reduced semen volume, concentration, motility, and other issues.
Females with high blood pressure may have difficulty conceiving due to the potential impact on egg quality. Factors such as high BMI, insulin resistance, smoking, and advanced age may contribute to high blood pressure and decreased egg quality.
Hypertension may be accompanied by a range of symptoms in women, including:
- Decrease in vaginal lubrication
- Reduced orgasm
- Complications in pregnancy that can impact fetal and maternal health
- Development of preeclampsia following pregnancy
Fertility can be affected if a low-quality egg is fertilized, as the resulting embryo may have difficulty attaching to the uterine lining. If the embryo implants successfully, it may still be at risk of not developing properly, which can lead to a miscarriage or pregnancy failure.
Studies have shown that between 13 and 40 per cent of pregnant women with chronic hypertension may develop preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition also known as toxaemia.
Preeclampsia is characterized by hypertension and the presence of protein in the urine and can lead to complications for the mother and baby if left unchecked.
If you have high blood pressure history, it is essential to work with your healthcare provider to plan for a safe pregnancy. Some medications used to treat hypertension may also have side effects that impact fertility, so discussing these with a healthcare provider is essential.
Your GP or specialist can help you determine the best course of action before you get pregnant. This includes switching to a different blood pressure medication if the one you’re currently taking is unsafe for pregnancy.
If you’re already pregnant and have hypertension, your doctor can ensure that your blood pressure medication is safe.
Alternative treatment options, such as acupuncture and herbal remedies, can be given a try. Still, it is essential to note that the safety and effectiveness of these approaches have yet to be fully established.
Working with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for managing high blood pressure and preserving fertility is essential.
Both high blood pressure and certain medications used to treat the condition can impact fertility in males and females, making it more challenging to become pregnant.
Additionally, uncontrolled blood pressure may increase the risk of complications for the individual and their baby during pregnancy. However, by keeping blood pressure well-controlled, it is possible to reduce these risks.
So work with a healthcare provider to develop a plan for managing blood pressure during and after pregnancy. This will ascertain the best outcomes for all parties involved.
Guo David, et.al., “Hypertension and Male Fertility” World J Mens Health. 2017 Aug; 35(2): 59–64. Published online 2017 Aug 22. doi: 10.5534/wjmh.2017.35.2.59
Farland Leslie V, et. al., “Infertility, Fertility Treatment, and Risk of Hypertension” Fertil Steril. 2015 Aug; 104(2): 391–397. Published online 2015 Jun 11. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.04.043
Nobles Carrie J., et. al., “Preconception Blood Pressure Levels and Reproductive Outcomes in a Prospective Cohort of Women Attempting Pregnancy” Originally published2 Apr 2018 https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.117.10705
Barekat Maryam et. al., “Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnant Women Receiving Fertility Treatments” Int J Fertil Steril. 2018 Jul-Sep; 12(2): 92–98. Published online 2018 Mar 18. doi: 10.22074/ijfs.2018.5232
Monseur Brent C. et.al., “Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and infertility treatment: a population-based survey among United States women” J Assist Reprod Genet. 2019 Jul; 36(7): 1449–1456. Published online 2019 May 27. doi: 10.1007/s10815-019-01490-1
Navaneethabalakrishnan Shobana, et. al., “Hypertension and reproductive dysfunction: a possible role of inflammation and inflammation-associated lymphangiogenesis in gonads” Clin Sci (Lond). Author manuscript; available in PMC 2022 Jun 20. Published in final edited form as: Clin Sci (Lond). 2020 Dec 23; 134(24): 3237–3257. doi: 10.1042/CS20201023
Carson Michael P., MD et. al., “Hypertension in a woman planning pregnancy” CMAJ. 2014 Feb 4; 186(2): 129–130. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.130433