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Your Immune System Is Attacking Your Reproductive Organs

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Your Immune System Is Attacking Your Reproductive Organs

By now we all know the importance of having healthy immune system as it helps body to fight against viruses, diseases and infections. But what if your own immune system attacks your body, weakens bodily functions, affect your reproductive health and in worst scenario is life threatening?

This malfunction of immune system is called autoimmune disease.
Immune system pregnancy

 

What Is Autoimmune Disease?

  • The basic function of immune system is to defend against any disease, virus, infection or bacteria by sending out army of fighter cells to attack these foreign cells. But in case of autoimmune disease, it mistakes your part of the body as foreign identity. Hence, it releases proteins called-autoantibodies that attack healthy cells.
  • Women in comparison to men are more prone to autoimmune disease
  • This disease mostly affects women or men during their reproductive phase (Age 15 to 44)
  • Covid Vaccine, male masturbation, female masturbation, condoms or adequate use of contraceptive pills is not the reason for infertility but autoimmune disease is definitely one of the reasons for delayed pregnancy.

Autoimmune Disease Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of different types of autoimmune diseases are very similar and mostly overlap each other. Symptoms may be severe in some people and mild in others. Such as:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Swelling and joint pain
  3. Skin rashes
  4. Low-grade or recurring fever
  5. Hair loss
  6. Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  7. Abdominal pain or digestive issues
  8. Multiple miscarriages
  9. Difficulty in conception
  10. Preterm delivery
  11. Infertility

 

Types Of Autoimmune Diseases

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases that affect a wide range of body parts. Most common are:

 

1. Hypothyroidism

When your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of thyroid hormones to meet your body’s needs, this condition is called Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid or low thyroid.

Symptoms

  • Over Weight
  • Dry Skin
  • Thinning of hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Joint pain
  • Irregular menstrual cycle

 

2. Type 1 Diabetes

It causes immune system to attack and destroy cells in only pancreas that create insulin. Insulin deficiency means improper distribution of sugars in the body, leading to high blood sugar levels which further can lead to damage in the blood vessels as well as organs like heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.

Symptoms

  • Frequent Urination
  • Loss of energy
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Increase in appetite
  • Nausea

 

3. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Is the most common and chronic condition. It attacks the healthy cells in the joints like hands, wrists, elbow and knees. Unlike osteoarthritis, which usually affects people as they get older, RA can start early in your 30’s or sooner. It is more common is females than in males.

Symptoms

  • Joint stiffness
  • Pain and swelling around the joints
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness

 

4. Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE)

SLE disease affects the whole body. In this condition there is inflammation of skin and joints. If it is severe then it also affects internal organs like kidneys, brain and heart. Again, it is more commonly found in women.

Symptoms

  • Sensitive to sun
  • Butterfly shaped rash on the face
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Fever

 

5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD is a chronic digestive condition that leads to inflammation in the stomach and gut.

Symptoms

  • Stomach pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue

 

Causes Of Autoimmune Disease

Though the cases of autoimmune diseases are increasing, the exact cause is still not known to the researchers. However below are some identified causes.

  1. Infection and disease
  2. Stress
  3. Genetic
  4. Environmental conditions
  5. Prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals

 

Autoimmune Disease – A Rising Issue Of Infertility In Women

Because autoimmune disorder affects mostly women and their multiple organs in body it sometimes causes damage to reproductive organs which leads to infertility. Hence making every stage of pregnancy very difficult.

 

1. Before Pregnancy

  • Difficulty in conception

If it affects the ovaries then quantity and quality of eggs get reduced resulting in low amh and premature ovarian failure.

 

If the autoimmune system is hyperactive, it considers embryo as a foreign body and gears up to reject and destroy it which causes early trimester miscarriage

 

2. During Pregnancy

  • APLA syndrome

This autoimmune disease affects placenta that is crucial for keeping the baby alive and well during the pregnancy as it provides oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby and remove waste products from baby’s blood. After the attack of autoimmune disease, the placental blood supply reduces due to which baby’s growth is affected leading to several risks like pre-eclampsia, hypertension, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) or preterm delivery.

 

3. Post pregnancy

  • Autoimmune flares

Sometimes autoimmune diseases get suppressed during pregnancy due to progesterone and estrogen hormones. But once these hormones are withdrawn after completion of pregnancy then these autoimmune diseases suddenly flare-ups. Hence continuous consultation with gynecologist and rheumatologist is mandatory during the entire pre and post pregnancy phase to timely manage the symptoms.

 

How To Diagnose Autoimmune Disorder?

As the symptoms of autoimmune diseases tend to be general in nature and mostly overlapping, accurate diagnosis becomes challenging and therefore needs multiple tests.

  1. Complete Blood Count Test
  2. C-reactive protein test (CRP)
  3. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate test (ESR)
  4. Antinuclear Antibody Test (ANA)
  5. Autoantibody test
  6. Comprehensive metabolic panel
  7. Urinalysis

 

Is Pregnancy Possible With Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune diseases cannot be cured but can be managed. Depending upon the severity and type of disease the treatments vary. If you are planning for pregnancy then discuss all your medical conditions with doctor. Because if it is timely treated and controlled then healthy pregnancy is possible with autoimmune disease. However, along with gynecologist, consultation with rheumatologist is highly advisable.

 

8 Ways To Prevent Autoimmune Diseases

  1. Eat anti-inflammatory diet
  2. Maintain healthy weight
  3. Improve gut health
  4. Quit excessive smoking and alcohol
  5. Get enough sleep
  6. Daily physical exercise
  7. Avoid too much stress
  8. Avoid oily, junk and preserved food items

 

If you are still finding reasons of your infertility condition and didn’t think or treated autoimmune symptoms then discuss this with your doctor and thoroughly investigate your medical history. And if you are already undergoing treatments for autoimmune disease then contact us to holistically control and manage it.

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