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Does IBS Cause Infertility?


Updated March 14, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Does IBS Cause Infertility?

You will be glad to hear that there is no evidence that IBS causes infertility. However, this is quite an understandable concern as IBS pain can be quite severe, and its location in the abdomen would naturally lead to concerns about IBS affecting the reproductive organs.

One of the more frustrating aspects of obtaining an IBS diagnosis is the lack of visible disease process or tissue damage. However, this is actually good news in terms of the relationship between IBS and infertility. The bowel symptoms of IBS are the result of dysfunction within the digestive tract itself, and therefore there is no "spillover" of disease onto any nearby organs, including those of the reproductive system. Thus, any pain you experience due to your IBS is not going to have any effect on the functioning of your reproductive system and therefore has no effect on your fertility.

Reproductive Health Conditions

There are several reproductive health conditions that result in the symptom of abdominal pain and contribute to fertility difficulties. These conditions can be identified through the use of diagnostic testing. So if you have IBS and are having difficulty getting pregnant, be sure that your doctor does not just "write off" your abdominal pain as being from IBS without further diagnostic investigation. The following reproductive health conditions sometimes cause abdominal pain as a symptom and can contribute to infertility:

Essential Reading from Dr. Bolen, Your IBS Guide:


"Women and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)" The UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders. Accessed March 14, 2011.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.

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