Inflammatory Bowel Disease & Male Fertility
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a general term used to identify disease conditions like Crohn Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. In both of these conditions, there is inflammation in the intestines resulting in a variety of symptoms of which some may be quite disabling. While Ulcerative Colitis affects the colon and the rectum Crohn Disease affects the last part of the intestines but in some cases may involve the entire bowel as well.
Now coming to the question as to whether or not Inflammatory Bowel Disease affects the fertility in males, studies do not suggest any role of the disease condition in reducing the fertility in either males or females on the whole. When talking about males specifically, it is the treatment and the whole idea of coping with the disease process that may end up decreasing the fertility in males due to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This article gives a brief overview on how inflammatory bowel disease affects fertility in males.
Does Inflammatory Bowel Disease Affect Fertility in Males?
As stated, Inflammatory Bowel Disease as a medical condition, does not affect the fertility in males; however, the medications that are given to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease can definitely affect the fertility in males. Majority of the medications used to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease are considered safe when trying for a baby, there are also some immunosuppressive medications that are given which tend to decrease fertility in males and may also cause certain birth defects.
Thus, it is recommended that if an individual is trying to father a baby and is on treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease then he should consult with his physician before stopping the immunosuppressive drugs. The most prominent and widely used drugs for Inflammatory Bowel Disease are methotrexate and mycophenolate mofetil which are known to cause decreased fertility in males and should not be taken when trying to father a baby as it may also cause birth defects in the baby.
Infliximab is yet another drug that should be avoided as it tends to reduce fertility in males with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Sulfasalazine is also another medication used widely to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease that tends to decrease fertility in males and increases the risk of birth defects.
Males who undergo surgery for treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease also tend to have low fertility, despite the surgery not involving any of the reproductive organs of males. Surgery in which an incision is made close to the rectum is the type of surgery that can cause decreased fertility in males.
Frequent flare-ups of Inflammatory Bowel Disease also are a reason for decreased fertility in males.
What are the Other Aspects of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease That Affect Male Fertility?
It is not only the medications that are given to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease that may affect the fertility of males there are also certain other factors associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease that may result in reduced fertility in males. These factors are:
Living with the Disease: It is quite a challenge to cope up with a disease condition like Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It may make an individual feel unattractive or unwanted by the partner and hence affect the libido thus reducing the chances of the individual fathering a baby.
Depression: The symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease are such and with the recurrent flare-ups of the condition make an individual so depressed that it results in decreased libido resulting in making it difficult for the individual to father a baby.
Frequent Flare-ups: Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a disease condition which tends to flare up ever so often. The inflammation caused by Inflammatory Bowel Disease affects the fertility of males, especially in cases where the flare-up is acute. Studies have shown that acute flare ups of Inflammatory Bowel Disease can result in erectile dysfunction and hence the fertility of the males is affected due to Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Nutritional Status: Studies have shown that an individual with Inflammatory Bowel Disease tends to have decreased level of zinc in the body and zinc is an important element for maintaining fertility in males and zinc deficiency may lead to lower fertility in males due to Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
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