Understanding Recurrent Abortion: Causes Diagnosis and Treatment Options
When a woman has two or more spontaneous abortions in a row, this is called recurrent abortion. If you have experienced recurrent abortion, you are not alone. Between 10-25% of known pregnancies end in abortion, and of these, 1-2% are recurrent abortions.
The causes of recurrent abortion are often unknown, but there are some known risk factors. These include genetic factors, autoimmune diseases, infection, and hormonal factors. If the cause is unknown, this is called idiopathic recurrent abortion.
There are several diagnostic tests that can be done to investigate the cause of recurrent abortion. These include blood tests, genetic testing, ultrasound, and laparoscopy.
Treatment options for recurrent abortion include medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes. The best course of treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the recurrent abortion.
If you have experienced recurrent abortion, it is important to talk to your doctor about your options. Continue to read to understand the Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment options of Recurrent Abortion.
Why does it happen?
It is difficult to determine exactly why recurrent abortion happens. The causes often remain unknown. Nonetheless, research has yielded some insights into the causes of repeated pregnancy loss. These can be divided into four main categories:
- Genetic Factors – Abnormalities in the fetus’s genetics are among the most common causes of recurrent abortions. These can be identified by genetic tests, such as fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH).
- Infections – Infections by bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses can all cause recurrent abortions. These infections are often acquired through food or contact with someone who is ill.
- Hormonal Imbalances – Hormones play a major role in ensuring a successful pregnancy. Low or abnormal levels of hormones can result in recurrent abortions.
- Autoimmune Diseases – Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome, can cause recurrent miscarriage. In these cases, the patient’s body is attacking its own tissues, including the fetus.
How is it diagnosed?
To diagnose recurrent abortion, certain tests should be done. These can include:
- Blood Test – A blood test can help detect genetic markers or abnormal levels of hormones which may indicate the presence of any of the causes of recurrent abortion.
- Ultrasound – This can help detect structural abnormalities in the uterus and any abnormal growths.
- Endometrial Biopsy – This is a procedure in which a tissue sample of the uterus lining is taken and inspected for any infections or abnormal cells.
- Chromosome Analysis – This can be done to detect anything abnormal in the fetus’s chromosomal makeup that may lead to recurrent abortion.
- Genetic Testing – This is usually done in order to detect any anomalies or mutations in the fetus’s genetic makeup which may be causing the recurrent abortion.
These tests can help to diagnose the cause of recurrent abortion and make it possible to begin treatment.
What are the treatment options?
Treatment options depend on the underlying cause, which can vary from infection to an anatomical defect in the uterus or chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. The most common treatment options include:
- Surgery – Surgery may be recommended in cases where there are structural abnormalities in the uterus or endometrium. A procedure to repair the defect may improve the chances of successful pregnancy.
- Medication – Medicine may be prescribed to help treat any infections and to balance the hormones.
- Assisted Reproductive technologies – Assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy can help improve the chances of successful conception.
- Lifestyle Modifications – Making dietary and lifestyle modifications can help improve fertility, such as maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding alcohol and smoking.
- Stress Management – Stress can be a major contributor to recurrent abortion, so it is important to manage stress levels through yoga, meditation, or other methods.
Recurrent abortion can have a major impact on fertility and having a successful pregnancy. It is important to understand the causes and treatment options available in order to ensure the best chance of successful conception.
Seeking help from a specialist
If you've experienced recurrent abortions, it is important to seek help from a specialist. Seeking help from a fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist can help diagnose and treat any underlying medical conditions quickly. They will typically perform a physical examination, an ultrasound, and some laboratory tests to accurately diagnose the problem and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
The specialist will also look into the cause of recurrent abortions as some may be due to lifestyle or environmental factors. This can include assessing your current lifestyle, diet, and exercise habits. They may also ask about any environmental toxins you may be exposed to such as lead, pesticides, or household cleaners.
Finally, the specialist may recommend that you seek counselling if they suspect that the recurrent abortions are due to emotional or mental distress. If the recurrent abortions are due to stress or anxiety, the specialist may recommend that you see a therapist or counsellor who can help you manage the issue more effectively.
Dr Shubhra Goyal is consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist who specializes in gynae endoscopy and infertility. She is a highly acclaimed obstetrician and gynaecologist of clinical experience. She specializes in providing comprehensive fertility treatments, gynaecological endoscopy treatments, and helping expectant mothers and their families to prepare for childbirth. Contact our team if you need a consultation or conversation with Dr. Shubhra.
Also Read: Fertility Treatments: What You Need to Know - Dr. Shubhra Goyal