Autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune thyroid disease, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis have been on the rise in the last 20 years.
According to several scientific studies, these diseases are linked to the most common reproductive disorders: endometriosis, PCOS, premature ovarian aging (POA) and idiopathic infertility (meaning infertility for no known reason).
Basically, an autoimmune disease is a problem with your immune system. Normally, your immune system acts as a protector against foreign invaders (such as germs, bacteria and viruses), and its job is to attack these foreign invaders upon sight to keep us healthy.
However, when someone has an autoimmune disorder, the immune system goes into overdrive and starts attacking non-foreign body parts, tissues and organs and causes your entire body to be inflamed and hostile. As you might expect, this has a negative impact on fertility. In a situation like this, the immune system can attack sperm and embryos, making conception and pregnancy quite difficult.
Additionally, the immune system of a woman with autoimmunity can also attack her own ovaries and cause Premature Ovarian Aging (POA) and/or PCOS.
Basically, a body attacking its own tissues is not a hospitable environment for fertility or pregnancy to thrive in!
What does that mean for your fertility?
In my clinic, I see many women who are having "fertility issues" are actually dealing with an autoimmune-based problem.
There are many symptoms that can indicate something is awry with your immune system, most commonly: