Crohn’s Disease and Female Fertility
The fertility rates for women with Crohn's disease are not much different from women without the disease. Women with Crohn’s disease should be relieved to know that pregnancy often results in normal children. The same fertility options are available to women with Crohn's disease as for those without Crohn’s disease.
How Does Crohn’s Disease Affect Fertility?
Crohn’s disease can reduce fertility in a number of ways. For example, inflammation in the colon or inflammation directly involving the fallopian tubes or ovaries may decrease fertility.
Typically, it is not an issue of how Crohn's disease affects the reproductive organs, but rather of how the symptoms of Crohn’s disease hinder fertility. This is because symptoms such as fever, anemia, and possible infection are more likely to reduce the rate of fertility.
In addition, voluntary childlessness due to fear of intimacy and dyspareunia—pain during sexual intercourse may also influence the number of pregnancies a woman may plan. Finding ways to engage in enjoyable sex may also aid the journey to a healthy pregnancy.
Is it Safe for Women with Crohn’s Disease to Get Pregnant?
During flare-ups, both obstetricians and gastroenterologists advise women to treat the disease before getting pregnant. This is because flare-ups during pregnancy may increase the risk of low birth weight and premature delivery. This may create complications for the newborn, although, most children of women with Crohn’s disease experience a normal birth.
Treating Crohn’s Disease During Pregnancy
Research shows that the course of pregnancy and delivery is often not affected when the disease is inactive. But women thinking of getting pregnant should still talk to their doctors before deciding to conceive.
Most doctors advise women with inactive Crohn’s disease to stop taking their medications because research suggests that some medications may indirectly increase the risks of birth defects.
On the other hand, doctors accept that some medications like sulfasalazine can be safely used to treat flare-ups during pregnancy and to maintain remission.
Does the Medication have a Direct Effect on Fertility?
The medication used for treating the Crohn's disease has no direct effect on fertility. Women who want to get pregnant should openly discuss their feelings with their doctors to ensure a smooth course of pregnancy during remission.