How your risk for Endometrial Polyps and the Gut Microbiome are Correlated
Over the last few years we have seen a significant increase in research surrounding the role of microbiomes (the microorganisms in a specific environment) are related to fertility, risk of miscarriage and risk for specific reproductive disorders (polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, etc.). Similarly, a new research paper published in May 2022 evaluated how the microbiome of the digestive tract could help predict if a patient has endometrial/uterine polyps.
How does the Gut Microbiome affect Reproduction?
One of the main drivers of optimal digestive health and reproductive function seems to be related to the modification in metabolism or certain hormones in the digestive tract. Certain microbes can greatly increase reabsorption of the sex hormone estrogen, while others may reduce its reabsorption.
The gut microbiome also has a strong role in the regulation of the immune system. A very large portion of the immune system is in the digestive tract and increased production of lipopolysaccharides (LPS - bacterial toxins) derived from certain microbes can affect immune function and inflammation.
Gut health has a strong role in regulating metabolic health as well. The production of certain short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) can impact and soluble fibre intake are just two factors that can impact glucose and insulin spikes in the blood.
We continue to learn with new research how the microbiome can impact reproductive health, but it is clear that the microbiome is too big of a factor when it comes to Fertility to simply ignore at this time.
How does the Gut Microbiome differ in Patients with Uterine Polyps and Infertility?
The new research recently published found that patients with endometrial polyps (and infertility) had a very distinct gut microbiome from patients that had no endometrial polyps (but did suffer from infertility) and from patients who had neither endometrial polyps nor infertility. Specifically, it was seen that patients with polyps + infertility had increased concentrations of Prevotella, Streptococcus, Fusobacterium, Fenollaria and Porphyromonas. Patients who did not have infertility or endometrial polyps had higher counts of Faecalibacterium, Bacteroides and Blautia.
Prevotella and Streptococcus abundance: while these are important gut microbes, in abundance they have been linked to chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and knee pain.
Fusobacterium: have been associated with increased inflammatory responses and are found in some cases cause periodontal or gingival infections.
While this research paper establishes correlation and not causation, the researchers suggest more research in the future on this topic to help determine if certain gut microbes can be used as biomarkers to help detect polyps in patients trying to conceive. It is important to speak to a licensed Naturopathic Doctor if you are struggling to conceive and have not discussed how the role of your reproductive and gut microbiomes can be related to infertility.
This article is being shared as educational content and is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance and supervision.
Lan, J., Chen, C., Chen, L., & Liu, P. (2022). Intestinal microflora provides biomarkers for infertile women with endometrial polyps. Biomarkers, 1–22.