Pharma & drug development

Recurrent miscarriage: could this devastating condition have a simple cure?

Recurrent miscarriages are often caused by endometriosis, a condition that affects one in ten women and leads to inflammation and lesions within the womb lining. Researchers now believe the condition could be caused by an imbalance within the gut microbiome, and could be treated with a simple course of antibiotics. Abi Millar profiles two research groups exploring this theory. 

For those who’ve experienced recurrent miscarriages, the devastation can be immense. While around one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage (defined as losing the baby before 24 weeks), this remains an isolating and under-discussed issue.

If the miscarriage happens early in the pregnancy, it’s usually down to chance. However, for women who lose their baby during the second trimester – or who experience three or more miscarriages in a row – it’s important to investigate the cause. Unfortunately, recurrent miscarriage affects around one in a hundred women, and it isn’t always possible to say why.

One potential culprit is endometriosis, a common condition affecting around 10% of women of reproductive age. It occurs when tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside the womb and can cause heavy periods and searing pain (some women, it should be noted, experience no symptoms at all).

The condition is also linked to recurrent miscarriage. While this link bears further exploration, there are two large databases (one from Sweden and one from Scotland) that suggest women with endometriosis are more likely to miscarry than those without. In fact, many women with the condition don’t get their diagnosis until they start experiencing fertility problems.

Read the rest of this article in the December 2019 edition of Pharma Technology Focus

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