Undiagnosed Prediabetes Highly Prevalent in Infertile Men, Study

Published on
By : Suvarna Sheth

The objective of a new study from Milan, Italy was to look at the prevalence and the risk associated with prediabetes in infertile men.

Out of 744 infertile men, prediabetes was found in 114 or 15.4 percent of participants in the study.

“Study results are significant for this sample size,” Dr. Luca Boeri, first author of the study, tells dLife. “Moreover, 744 men with complete metabolic, seminal and hormonal examination is a huge sample size in the clinical setting,” he says.

The study participants, according to Boeri, are mainly from Italy but represent, at a wider view, the Caucasian-European group.

Boeri acknowledges researchers cannot exclude different results with a different population (American, Asian, etc.,) that may have different glycemic patterns.

All 744 participants were suffering from primary infertility. Primary infertility refers to couples who have not become pregnant after at least one year having sex without using birth control methods.

Prediabetes was defined according to the clinical criteria detailed by the American Diabetes Association.

Certain factors were linked with prediabetes in the study, and researchers say they might be useful indicators for identifying men who could benefit from early preventive interventions to safeguard against the development of diabetes.

The study found that older age, higher follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels, and idiopathic nonobstructive azoospermia (absence of sperm in semen or iNOA ) were associated with prediabetes.

The authors conclude that about 15% of primary infertile men had criteria suggestive of undiagnosed prediabetes.

However, Boeri tells dLife this cross-sectional study is not intended to provide causality between male infertility and prediabetes.

“We showed that men with prediabetes have impaired metabolic, hormonal profile and a higher risk of NOA than healthy controls,” he explains.

“Moreover, both prediabetes and infertility per se are now considered as a proxy of overall men’s health status,” he says, “therefore their association deserves investigation.”

Boeri says 15 percent of infertile men have an undiagnosed level of glucose suggestive for a prediabetes status, thus pointing out the actual importance of glucose metabolism investigation throughout the basic workup of infertile individuals.

“This finding is relevant given the clinical importance of prediabetes,” he says, “especially for its harmful possibilities in terms of the overall feature of men’s health and the possible countermeasures to be taken as early as possible in relatively young persons.”

The factors that emerge to be independently associated with prediabetes status — older age, FSH values, and iNOA status — could be considered as useful parameters to implement early preventive interventions in those men at risk of consequences from poor glycemic control, Boeri concludes.

The research was conducted by authors from the University of Milan, Milan, Italy, and University Vita‐Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.


1. Undiagnosed prediabetes is highly prevalent in primary infertile men – results from a cross‐sectional study. 2018, October 16. Retrieved: https://doi.org/10.1111/bju.14558