Let’s discuss AutoImmune and Infertility

Do you know anything about autoimmune disorders and infertility? The reason I ask is that I’ve had a handful of problems pop up recently that are all in the “inflammatory” category, and I’m wondering if they could be a sign of some kind of problem?

I was doing some reading, and women with POF (like me) are known to have autoimmune components, such as antibodies that attack ovarian function. But I see nothing that can fix it. I guess when the damage is done, it’s done. 😦

Here are my issues:

-Eczema: I never had this until about a year ago. It flares up randomly and nothing seems to help.

-Allergies: I never used to be allergic to anything, but now I’m allergic to so many things. Mold, pollen, dust, cat dander, strawberries, kiwi, bananas, and Lord knows what else. I get more frequent allergy issues, sinus infections, etc than ever before.

-Gastroenteritis: Just had a episode of this. It’s an inflammatory response in the stomach and bowels.

-Gastritis: I have frequent heartburn and received an upper endoscopy a couple years ago. They said my stomach was inflamed, but no reason found. Could have something to do with the above disorder. Or could be IBS.

-Other random symptoms: Weight gain, Fatigue, Acne, Hair Loss, Hair Growth – where it shouldn’t be! And I get sick A LOT (which could be because I work in the medical field).

I’m hoping they find some answers in the 13 vials of blood they took. Some of the tests had autoimmune components. It seems like something is going on – at least with some of these symptoms, or maybe I’m just paranoid and it all means nothing. LOL. Anyone else experiencing any of these types of symptoms at all?

My friend, Kim, over at The A.R.T. of Babymaking posted this interesting info on this topic. She talks about some things you can do to help reduce inflammation.

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17 thoughts on “Let’s discuss AutoImmune and Infertility

  1. interesting stuff, thanks for posting this and the link to the other blog!!! Keep us posted on what they find out. I think some RE's are really into this stuff and others less so.

  2. My Dr. definitely thinks there is a link between autoimmune disorders and IF. I have lots of unexplained joint pain (skin issues too) and so I had some rheumatoid/ autoimmune blood work done. The first time it came back really abnormal, but a couple weeks ago when I was re-tested,(at a different time in my cycle) all was within the normal range…hmmm. It's something I think I'll continue to be checked for and seeing a Rheumatologist will continue to be on the back burner. I hope they figure something out in your blood work!

  3. Interesting post, I've often wondered the same thing. I will post my similar post on my blog so that I'm not using up all of your comment space. Check it out later and we can compare our problems! Haha, I have a lot too! Keep us posted on your bloodwork, I hope they find out something for you. Sometimes I think I am just paranoid, probably watching House too much!

  4. I also have a lot of inflammatory conditions, particularly gastrointestinal, but I never thought it could be related to my IF except in the context of what my acupuncturist tells me about stagnant Chi, etc. I know the immunological stuff is very controversial in the IF world. There is a radio show on it at Creating a Family, which I haven't listened to yet but I thought you might be interested in: http://www.creatingafamily.org/radioplayer.html?file_name=immunological%20connection.mp3&year=2010&day=April%2028&title=The%20Immunological%20Connection%20in%20Infertility%20and%20Recurrect%20Pregnancy%20Loss"Weight gain, Fatigue, Acne, Hair Loss, Hair Growth – where it shouldn't be!" – it's odd because those are all symptoms of PCOS with hypothyroidism. I wonder how many disorders can cause the same thing.

  5. Thanks for sharing your symptoms and info as well. You know its also strange that my symptoms come and go so it might be hard to test for. My thyroid has always been normal when they tested for it.

  6. Happy ICLW! I was very sorry to read about your losses and send love. There is definitely an autoimmune gene that floats around my family bringing about various disorder and I am sure it came out in me in infertility. After many miscarriages, I did show up positive for antiphospholipid syndrome (clotting disorder) and was on daily heparin injections once pg. I really hope you get some answers as I think it is a double whammy to face treatment under the cloud of miscarriage. Here's hoping hey xxxxxxxxx

  7. I have no idea about the inflammatory issues with IF. I can tell you that my son has bad eczema and the only thing we found that helps was vanicream or aquaphor (try not to use the aquaphor in the summer as much), and he's on zyrtec, singulair, and as needed he's on hydroxyzine for the itching. Try the vanicream-it's the only stuff we found that works to not break him out further, and we were putting it on his skin after putting on cortaid. You can order directly from the manufacturer or have a pharmacy order it for you. They have shampoo, cream, lite lotion, sunblock, chapstick, etc. They don't have any of the usual culprits that promote the flare ups. Good luck and Happy ICLW!

  8. Thanks for the input ladies!You know what else is interesting, my hubby has an autoimmune disorder, too – Psoriasis. I wonder if that would have any bearing also on us being able to conceive. His swimmers seem to check out okay. He will be getting a karyotype, as did I.

  9. Hey, I too have autoimmune issues (JRA- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, family history of hypothyroidism, asthma)and RE believes they do have a huge impact on infertility. I know he is considered more of a 'cowboy' in the RE world, but at this time, we are just happy someone is giving us and answer. If you want any more info on the testing I have had done or his info just email me…anglmoira@mac.comI hope you get answers SOON!

  10. I honestly don't know much, besides the fact that I've seen a few infertility blogs from women who also have autoimmune conditions. It's definitely something worth asking your doctor about though!

  11. Hi Lisa The autoimmunity information seems to be everywhere I look this week!!Id never heard of it before, but I did have some of the symptoms. I was allergic to a bunch of different food items resulting in a terrible cough that i had for over 3 years!! I got help via a NAET therapist. ( look for a therapist near you www . naet.com ) She uses kinsiology and accupressure techniques to identify and remove the allergy. A couple I had to do more than once..I also had accupuncture and Ive barely coughed since!! I also had a lot of bloating and have found the accupuncture helped with that as well. The NAET therapist i see had terrible excema and it was mostly cured by the technique which is why she went into it..it does still flare up occasionally she says, but it used to cover 80% of her body all the time!Im sure these issues can be cured..but mostly through alternative medicines as I find western medicine mostly doesn't seem in tune with anything and just throws pills to mask the problems.Anyway, sorry its so long..but maybe it might help!

  12. I encourage you to talk to an RE that specializes in the immune issues for fertility. I had a free phone consult with Dr. Sher at SIRM, and he was very informative. I hope you can find out some answers!

  13. Lisa, I have the hair issue ( growing where it shouldn't be), I also have hair loss, cold hands & feet, inability to lose weight, no libido….sigh. I hope we get some answers soon

  14. ICLWI have some nasty allergies – it sucks, but I've managed my whole life. Thinks have changed, new ones have developed over the years and my allergist has warned me of foods that I may become allergic to in the future. Specialized diets can be difficult at first, but the reward of feeling better is so worth it.

  15. Any updates Lisa? What did your tests find? My doctor thinks I may have an autoimmune disorder too…reason I haven't gotten pregnant since the birth of my son 5 years ago. Good, informative and helpful blog.Jennifer

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