By Abdullatif Al-Sharaa
KUWAIT: Around 730,000 people in Kuwait are estimated to be suffering from sterility, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist Dr Wafaa Al-Hashash said.
Hashash’s estimation is based on the global rate which stipulates that one of every six persons worldwide suffer from the medical condition. She pointed out that there is a link between the digestive system diseases, sterility, and infertility among people of both genders, referencing studies done by the World Health Organization (WHO) in April 2023 in this field which she says confirm this connection.
Treatment of digestive system diseases may open the door for a new hope, especially for those who suffer from unknown causes of sterility and infertility, she said. Among diseases that contribute to reduced fertility are ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac, H Pylori (Stomach Germ) and liver diseases, she said, noting that failure to follow a proper diet program could also be a cause.
Since sterility affects one out of six persons around the world. Hashash said that the number of people affected with sterility is about 9.5 million out of the 57 million in the Gulf region.
She explained that H Pylori could lead to infertility due to its effect in causing cell damage, adding that the global rate of infection with the disease reaches up to 50 percent. She further indicated that one of the lead causes of sterility are Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract, and chronic ulcerative colitis which is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease in which abnormal reactions of the immune system cause inflammation and ulcers on the inner lining of the large intestines. Those diseases cause vitamin deficiency, indigestion and bad absorption.
Another cause, Hashash said, is celiac disease, which is a condition where the immune system attacks the tissues when person consumes gluten. The disease leads to reducing fertility among women by 8.4 percent due to deficiency in folic acid, zinc, and selenium which weakens fertility hormones LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle – stimulating hormone).
As for men, the deficiency of folic acid, Vitamin A and E weaken sperm production and Androgen resistance, she added. Liver disease is also another condition that could lead to infertility, she said, noting that there are about 30 to 70 percent of women with liver cirrhosis who have an interruption in the menstrual cycle. Liver disease leads to change in sex hormones causing the menstrual cycle to stop, while in men it reduces the testosterone hormone, she explained.
Obesity is considered another possible cause due to oxidative stress that reduces the production of hormones and reduces the implantation of the fetus in the uterus, she said. Hashash said that bad diet and eating foods rich in fats cause a slowdown of sperm movement and numbers among men.