Fibromyalgia can Cause Infertility

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Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized with widespread pain. It affects millions worldwide and more commonly affects females than males.

Research has shown that fibromyalgia symptoms tend to worsen with menstrual periods, pregnancy, and delivery. The pain is often felt the most at night and the individual suffering from the pain often struggles to find time to sleep and once he or she finally falls asleep the night is often interrupted from the pain and the fibromyalgia patient wakes up stiff, uncomfortable and just plain miserable.

Fibromyalgia and infertility

Infertility affects 1 in 6 couples.  It is even more common in fibromyalgia because of the hypothyroidism, nutritional deficiencies, and PCOS. These numbers are continuing to raise as sperm counts drop worldwide and undiagnosed thyroid problems increase-so you are not alone.

One retrospective cohort study looked at women with and without fibromyalgia. Deliveries of 112 pregnancies in fibromyalgia patients were compared to 487 deliveries in women without fibromyalgia. Women with fibromyalgia had higher rates of intrauterine growth restriction, recurrent abortions, gestational diabetes, and polyhydramnios. Rates of cesarean delivery were not significantly different between fibromyalgia patients and women without fibromyalgia.

Life complications are simultaneous with fibromyalgia and one particular life complication that some women might endure as a result of fibromyalgia is infertility. Fortunately, it is often quite reversible, and we have seen many people with infertility that has been able to conceive. There is scant evidence that fibromyalgia may interfere with a woman’s chance to get pregnant. However, as long as the woman is not completely debilitated with fibromyalgia pain, there is little reason not to consider children.

The biggest concern in pregnant women with fibromyalgia is the physical and emotional toll pregnancy can have on a woman. It’s important that patients with fibromyalgia control their stress levels to prevent the aggravation of their fibromyalgia condition. Patients are advised to plan pregnancy during times where symptoms are less severe. They are also urged to eat a healthy diet and partake in regular moderate exercise.

Fibromyalgia and Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition that is partial to women; this health condition develops in females when the lining of the womb begins to grow in other areas of the body. During a monthly cycle a woman’s ovaries produces hormones, the hormones are what tells the cells lining the uterus to swell and thicken.

During the monthly cycle the body removes the excess lining. If these cells decide to implant or grow outside the uterus the condition of endometriosis is had. Women that develop endometriosis complain if pain, irregular bleeding and struggle with infertility. Endometriosis is a common condition and can be genetically transferable. Various factors may be responsible for the inability to achieve a successful pregnancy.

Despite research showing that fertility declines after age 30, women are delaying having children. Infertility may be caused by ovulatory, anatomic, immunologic, infectious, nutritional or hormonal factors on the woman’s side. In men, abnormalities of semen parameters are the most common contributors. Treatments that improve cellular energy production may dramatically increase sperm motility (see below). In all couples, both the man and woman should be treated to optimize fertility.

The good news is that there are many natural ways to improve all steps of the reproductive process. A large number of studies have successfully explored the use of individual nutritional and hormonal therapies, resulting in women with unexplained amd untreatable infertility often getting pregnant! It has been recommended that nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy needs to be treated aggressively to avoid dehydration and poor nutrition.

During pregnancy and nursing (breastfeeding) in fibromyalgia patients, treatments should be low on medications and highly non-drug approach to avoid harm to the baby. Medications however should be reserved for more disabling and recalcitrant symptoms. Currently, fibromyalgia medications are not completely safe to take during pregnancy.

Many doctors actually recommend that some women stop taking fibromyalgia medications such as painkillers and antidepressants for the time of their pregnancy. Before making the decision to come off fibromyalgia medications, it’s important to speak to your doctor to understand the risks that may be involved.

Tips and Treatment

Avoid hot tubbing (it increases birth defect risks). A hot bath, which is not over 100 degrees in temperature, is a safer way to relax. In a bath much of your upper body will remain out of the water, making you less likely to overheat. Additionally, the water in a bath begins to cool off, as opposed to a hot tub, further reducing any risk of overheating, a hot tub is usually set at 102-104 degrees, which can overheat your body and can harm the baby. Avoid melatonin (which is sometimes used to treat insomnia) as it can affect reproductive hormones.

Use whole milk instead of low fat or fat free milk products. In a Harvard study, high intake of low-fat dairy foods was associated with an increased risk of infertility, while an increased intake of high-fat dairy foods was associated with a lower risk of infertility. Women consuming at least 2 servings of low-fat dairy foods per day showed an 85% increased risk of infertility.

On the other hand, women consuming at least 1 serving of high-fat dairy foods per day showed a 27% reduced risk of infertility.  Whole milk products (instead of low fat ) also taste better! Optimize iron levels. If the ferritin blood test is under 80 or iron percent saturation under 25%, treat with an iron tablet 1 a day after 2 pm on an empty stomach.Continue the iron through your pregnancy.

Do this even if your doctor says that your blood tests are “normal.” Get the actual ferritin test result. It works best to have intercourse on the day you ovulate and up to 4 days before (otherwise “ad lib” whenever you feel like it). It is OK to have intercourse multiple times during this period. For purposes of getting pregnant, intercourse even 1 day after ovulation is unlikely to result in pregnancy-but OK to do anyway for its other benefits.

References:

  • Fibromyalgia can cause infertility via Fibromyalgia Treatment Group
  • Fibromyalgia Treatment 

For support and Discussion join the group “Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness”

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