Is there an association between inflammatory arthritis and male fertility?
When people hear the word arthritis, they may not think about fertility. Generally, they think about joint pain, as inflammatory arthritis, or "IA", is joint inflammation caused by an overactive immune system. However, researchers have started to look into the association between AI and male fertility.
What is inflammatory arthritis?
Inflammatory arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that results in joint inflammation caused by an overactive immune system. IA differs from osteoarthritis, or "OA," because OA is caused by physical use and wear on the body. IA can be diagnosed in patients as young as 20 or 30, and OA generally appears in people after the age of 50.
Inflammatory Arthritis and Male Fertility
You may be surprised to learn, but inflammatory arthritis has been associated with things like male infertility, erectile dysfunction, and hypogonadism.
A new stud aimed to look at the impact of IA on male fertility and evaluate the impact of IA on male fertility outcomes such as fertility rates, family planning, childlessness, and fertility problems. In a study where 628 participants diagnosed with IA were included, the researchers concluded that “men diagnosed with IA before and during the peak of reproductive age had lower fertility rate, higher childlessness rate, and more fertility problems.”
The study also concludes that “increased awareness and more research into the causes behind this association are urgently needed.”
As mentioned earlier, IA can impact men as young as their 20s or 30s. The average paternal age, or age in which a man conceives a child is approximately 31 (as of 2051). This means that men in their prime reproductive age can be diagnosed with IA.
In addition to inflammatory arthritis, the researchers also explained that some of the medications for inflammatory arthritis have side effects like reduced sperm production and poor sperm quality.
It's always important to discuss diagnosis and treatment with your medical provider. In addition, it's important to discuss your desired conception timeline as well.
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