An Unwanted Result Of An ISD
Many studies have shown that certain immune system disorders (ISDs) can increase a person’s risk of infertility. The most common ISDs include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), and celiac disease. Medical treatment and lifestyle changes can help manage ISDs and help women get pregnant. The goal is to get the proper support and treatment for both ISDs and infertility.
How do ISDs affect fertility?
When someone has an ISD, the immune system malfunctions, resulting in various symptoms. Common complications include fatigue, joint or muscle pain, skin problems, and digestive issues. For women, ISDs can cause irregular menstrual cycles and decreased libido. For men, ISDs can cause erectile dysfunction (ED) and low sperm count. An abnormal immune response can also lead to an inflammatory response in the body that can cause miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Certain ISDs can be chronic and progressive, increasing the risk of infertility over time. Sometimes, the condition may result in infertility before any symptoms appear.
Reducing symptoms with treatment
Treatments for ISDs depend specifically on the disorder and the severity of the condition. In most cases, treatment is targeted at reducing the symptoms and improving quality of life. This may involve a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Some patients may need to take medications continuously to keep the symptoms under control. Controlling disease flares is important for women planning pregnancy.
Lifestyle changes to consider
Some lifestyle modifications may help control the symptoms and improve the health of patients with ISDs. For example, managing stress through exercise, meditation, or yoga may help control symptoms of an overactive immune response. Eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep may also improve overall health and energy levels. Immune system disorder patients are also encouraged to avoid triggers such as tobacco and alcohol to limit the risk of developing another health condition in the future.
Fertility treatments for ISDs
There are several treatment options for patients with an ISD who want to become pregnant. Assisted reproductive technology (ART), which includes in vitro fertilization (IVF), may be used to treat infertility in women. For men with an ISD, intrauterine insemination (IUI) can help increase the likelihood of fertilization and pregnancy. If IUI fails, IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are options.
Creating the perfect family
Patients diagnosed with a condition affecting the immune system may need to consult a fertility specialist for help getting pregnant. A specialist can help guide the couple toward appropriate treatments based on the immune system disorders involved. Pregnancy is possible with patience, proper management of the condition, and fertility treatments.