My period has never been regular. One month I would have a 23-day cycle, and then I’d wait 40 days for my next period. My record is 54 days in between cycles. Needless to say, I never knew when I could wear white pants, and later, when I was trying to get pregnant, it was very tricky trying to make sure I was having sex at the optimum time of fertility. Most women can go by a calendar for their fertile window…I had to spend who-knows-how-much money on fertility kits, and I peed on more sticks than I could count.
Well, it appears that my random and most often extended window of fertility may have caused me more than just wardrobe mishaps and money on fertility kits: it may have contributed to my three concurrent miscarriages.
Recent research from Warwick Medical School and The Imperial College in London has shown a link between dysfunctional fertility windows and recurrent miscarriage. IL-33 (a cytokine) is released during the menstrual cycle. This release triggers activity in other cells (ST2) in the uterus. This chain reaction helps regulate the window of fertility, and is key to the timing of the two to three day “peak” time for intercourse.
A recent study, published in the journal PLOS ONE
, show that women who have had three or more recurrent miscarriages have elevated levels of IL-33. This creates a prolonged window of fertility, possibly giving abnormal embryos a chance to implant in the uterus. This longer window may also disrupt the environment in which a healthy embryo implants, both of which could lead to an increase in the instance of miscarriage.
The IL-33/ST2 pathway is direct participant in the inflammatory and autoimmune systems, and is being studied in many other areas of health including: Alzheimer’s disease, cardiac disease, asthma, and obesity. As the role that IL-33/ST2 plays in the reproductive cycle is more fully understood, it could potentially lead to treatment, and a possible end to multiple miscarriages for women with this problem.
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