Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Asthma can be diagnosed at any stage of life, but is often discovered in early childhood. Some asthma is genetic, while some is allergy- or exercise-induced. Asthma can be controlled with the use of preventive or maintenance inhalers and severe asthmatics often also carry rescue inhalers and epi-pens.
New research indicated that asthma has been associated with a prolonged time to pregnancy and a decreased birth rate in a new clinical observation study. Published in the European Respiratory Journal, the research adds to previous studies that have identified a link between asthma and fertility. The evidence so far has been conflicting and many of the studies have either relied on data from questionnaires or small sample sizes.
The current study investigated 245 women with unexplained fertility problems aged between 23 and 45 years. They underwent asthma and allergy testing and questionnaires during their fertility treatment. 96 women in the study had either an existing doctor’s diagnosis of asthma or were diagnosed with asthma when they entered the study.
The researchers monitored the women during their fertility treatment for a minimum of 12 months, until they had a successful pregnancy, stopped treatment or the observation ended. Of course, not every woman experienced successful pregnancy or any pregnancy.
The results found that the median total time to pregnancy was 32.2 months in non-asthmatic women and 55.6 months in those with asthma. Women with asthma also had fewer successful conceptions: 39.6% achieved pregnancy in the asthmatic women compared with 60.4% in the women without asthma. The results also found this trend was more apparent as the women got older. This indicates that women with asthma get pregnant less frequently and take more time to achieve a pregnancy than do women who have never been diagnosed with asthma.
One of the researchers notes that this finding in a clinical trial setting adds new weight to the epidemiological evidence suggesting a link between asthma and fertility. We have seen here that asthma seems to have a negative influence on fertility as it increases time to pregnancy and even more so with age.
What’s unclear is any kind of causation. Asthma itself is linked with obesity, so perhaps it’s weight that makes the difference. Or perhaps the asthma treatments impede fertility. In any event, the researchers recommend that women undergo extensive treatment to control their asthma before attempting to get pregnant, as it appears that managing asthma and attempting pregnancy concurrently present challenges.
If you have asthma and think it may be contributing to your infertility, contact Dr. Chamoun at Viera Fertility Center today. We have successfully helped women with asthma achieve pregnancy and we would be happy to work with you on your specific goals for your health and your family.
Asthma itself doesn’t have to signal the end of your fertility journey, but perhaps signals the beginning. If you’ve been trying to conceive for 12 months, it could be that you’re on the timetable of an asthmatic patient where 55 months was the average. It could also be that fertility treatment in the mean time can speed that process and ensure that you’re having the most successful pregnancy possible when waiting 5 years doesn’t seem wise.
If you’re questioning whether fertility treatment is right for you and your specific medical scenario, contact the office of Dr. Chamoun today. We’ve got the resources to identify the source of your fertility challenges, and the know-how to devise a plan of action that will be most effective for you in meeting your family planning dreams.
European Lung Foundation. (2016, February 12). Asthma linked to an increased time to pregnancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 15, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160212091624.htm