Women who have had their appendix or tonsils removed may have increased fertility, according to a new 15-year study that looked at medical records from more than half a million British women. The researchers at the University of Dundee in Scotland found that for every 100 pregnancies in women who hadn’t had the surgeries, there were 134 pregnancies in women who had their appendix removed, 149 pregnancies for women who had their tonsils removed, and 143 pregnancies in women who had both removed.
The results upended the widely-held belief that having an appendix removed could damage a woman’s fertility, according to the BBC.
“This [study] is very important in reassuring young women that appendicectomy will not reduce their chances of future pregnancy,” Dr. Sami Shimi said.
Shimi said the study confirmed “beyond doubt” that removal of the inflamed organs improved chances of pregnancy in women, but doctors have not yet figured out the reason for the increase in fertility. The researchers said they are unsure whether the operations directly affect fertility or whether there is a behavioral explanation for the change. The inflammation of the tonsils or appendix could affect levels of inflammation throughout the body, including the ovaries and womb, which could decrease fertility. On the other hand, the lack of pain and inflammation from having them removed might also encourage women to enjoy more “liberal sexual activity,” researchers said.
While the issue needs more research to understand the connections, the doctors said that women shouldn’t consider running out to have an appendectomy to increase their chances of getting pregnant.
Read the full story at the BBC.