Sunday 11 December 2016

Women with appendix or tonsils removed earlier 'more likely to get pregnant'

Published 02/08/2016 | 19:16

Researchers say the explanation is more likely to be behavioural than biological
Researchers say the explanation is more likely to be behavioural than biological

Women who have their appendix or tonsils removed when they are young are more likely to get pregnant, and sooner, a study has found.

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Researchers analysed the records of thousands of UK women before coming to the "surprising" link between appendectomies and tonsillectomies and higher pregnancy rates.

Time taken to get pregnant was also shortest among those who had both their appendix and tonsils out, followed by their appendix only and then their tonsils only, compared with the rest of the population.

Scientists from Dundee University and University College London are now attempting to establish why, though they say the reason is likely to be behavioural rather then biological.

They underlined that the findings should not be taken as a sign that women should seek an appendectomy or tonsillectomy thinking it would increase their chances of becoming pregnant.

The study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility followed a 2012 paper by the same team.

Sami Shimi, clinical senior lecturer at Dundee University's School of Medicine, said: "O nce again the results have been surprising.

"We have found that women who have had an appendectomy or tonsillectomy, or even more particularly both, are more likely to become pregnant, and sooner than the rest of the general population.

"This scientifically challenges the myth of the effect of appendectomy on fertility. What we have to establish now is exactly why that is the case."

He added: "This research does not mean that removing a normal appendix directly increases fertility.

"It does however mean that young women who need to have their appendix removed can do so without fear of the risk on future fertility."

Dr Li Wei, from the School of Pharmacy at University College London, said: "This research is of paramount interest because appendectomy and tonsillectomy are very common surgical operations, experienced by tens of thousands of people in the UK alone.

"Although a biological cause is possible, we believe that the cause is more likely to be behavioural. We are pursuing both hypotheses with further research."

The analysis included 54,675 appendectomy-only patients, 112,607 tonsillectomy patients, and 10,340 patients who had undergone both procedures.

These were compared to the records of 355,244 women from the rest of the population, matched for age.

Press Association

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