How Autoimmune Diseases Prevent You from Conceiving

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 24, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Autoimmune diseases can inhibit your fertility.
  • A wrecked immune system can attack your ovaries.
  • Get your antibodies checked with thyroid panel.
  • Also get tested for blood sugar related disorders.

An abnormal immune function can affect fertility as well as miscarriage risk in a woman.  Around the world, about 4 million women are affected each year by preeclampsia, a life-threatening increase in blood pressure during pregnancy, and an estimated 80 million suffer from endometriosis, a disorder involving the lining of the uterus.

In people with autoimmune diseases, the body's immune system becomes misdirected, attacking the very organs it was designed to protect. About 75% of autoimmune diseases occur in women, most frequently during the childbearing years. Several studies have linked reproductive orders like endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian ageing (POA) and idiopathic infertility with autoimmune diseases.

In a situation where the immune system attacks the non-foreign body parts, tissues and organs, it can also attack sperm and embryos, causing difficulty in conception and pregnancy. Plus, a woman’s body with autoimmune diseases can attack her own ovaries and lead to POA and/or PCOS.

autoimmune diseases and conceiving

So essentially, a body that is attacking its own tissues cannot serve as a friendly host for fertility and pregnancy to flourish.

How do Autoimmune Diseases Affect Fertility

Many women having fertility issues may not know that they might be experiencing an autoimmune-based problem. Some symptoms of such a condition where your immune system seems amiss are:

  • Poor digestion
  • Recurring illnesses
  • Skin rashes
  • Blood sugar issues (like hypoglycaemia)
  • Allergies
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle and joint pain and difficulty concentrating

Aimee Raupp, in her book, Yes, You Can Get Pregnant, has discussed most of the recent research published in esteemed medical journals such as Gynecological Endocrinology, Human Reproduction and The European Journal of Endocrinology showing strong associations between reproductive disorders like endometriosis (which is the second most common cause of infertility), AITD, CD, POA and PCOS.

It shows that a lot of research is depicting the role of a messed up immune system in a woman’s ability to get pregnant.

How can You Control Your Immune System

Get Your Antibodies Checked- Along with your standard yearly thyroid panel, ask for a test to check your thyroid antibodies. It will help you rule out autoimmune thyroid diseases.

Get Your Blood Sugar Tested- Take a test for fasting glucose and Haemoglobin A1c to make sure you’re not dealing with any blood sugar related disorders like type 1 diabetes or PCOS.

autoimmune diseases and pregnancy

Get Your Celiac Antibodies Tested- It's important to keep in mind that if you don’t have these antibodies, you could still have an issue with gluten.

Eat for Desirable Immunity- Choose food options that are organic, nutritious, antioxidant-rich foods and avoid processed, packaged foods, soy products and gluten.

Love Yourself- Realise how you are treating yourself and do better at it. Know your attributes that you love about yourself, pamper them. You could also meditate, and practice breathing “love” into your body with each inhalation and send out negative emotions with your exhalation.

Take Probiotics- Probiotics (or good bacteria found in digestive tract) help maintain the natural balance of good and bad bacteria in your body, aid your digestion and boost your immunity.

These tips if followed regularly can prove to be very helpful in managing your immune system, improving your overall health and your fertility. These tips are natural and won’t pose any adverse effect on your health.

Image Courtesy: Getty

Read more articles on Conceiving.

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