Ulcerative colitis is a concern for both male and female sufferers in the quest to become pregnant. This chronic inflammatory bowel disease is more of a problem in women, as it can reduce ovulation and the malnutrition and weight loss which accompanies the condition, can indirectly impair the chances of conception. There is also a higher risk of iron deficiency and infections with the disease when active. Previous surgery to treat this disorder may result in lowered fertility as a result of abdominal organ scarring.
An increase in symptoms of u. colitis may be experienced in both the first trimester and shortly after birth, both probably related to hormone changes. There is a higher risk of having a premature baby and even a small chance of increasing the likelihood of birth defects, so wherever possible, women should go off their ulcerative colitis medication during pregnancy.
Flare ups during pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage, but fortunately most ulcerative colitis medication (corticosteroids sulphasalazine and salazosulphadimidine) is not contra indicated for pregnancy. Methotrexate and Thalidomide, both immunosuppressive drugs, are completely banned for pregnancy usage and treatment with them is only prescribed in conjunction with rigorous birth control.
For a full list of what medication is safe and what isn't when trying to conceive and when pregnant, please consult a medical specialist.
In men, malnutrition may impact on fertility and some of the ingredients in prescribed sulfa medication (e.g. sulfasalazine) may alter sperm and cause lower sperm motility and sperm count. It is important to get the disease into remission or to go off this medication temporarily, before trying to impregnate your partner. Sperm return to normal within two months of not taking the sulfa component in ulcerative colitis medication.
Other medication is also available e.g. olsalazine and mesalamine as well as corticosteroids which may prove as effective as sulfasalazine but without the negative effects on sperm production and quality.
Apart from ulcerative colitis medication, much can be done to maintain and improve the disorder with a diet tailored to your allergies and food sensitivities, and the reduction of stress and anxiety in your life.you can relate to and confide in. Support groups whether on or offline are also really helpful for suggestions which worked for others.