Rachel Sanoff
August 03, 2016 1:49 pm

Did you get appendicitis or tonsillitis when you were a youngster? Listen up, because scientists in the U.K. have made an unexpected connection between certain routine surgeries and pregnancy rates:

A new study by the School of Medicine at the University of Dundee, published in Fertility and Sterility, has found that women who undergo appendectomies and/or tonsillectomies at a young age get pregnant sooner and more often than other women. 

Tonsillectomy, or removal of inflamed tonsils, and appendectomy, removal of an inflamed appendix, are common surgical procedures that have nothing to do with your reproductive organs, which is why the connection is so surprising.

It is still surprising for another reason, too. Sam Shimi, who co-authored the study, stated that it had actually been a long-held misconception that appendectomies in young women may result in infertility later on. When a 2012 study by the same researchers proved the exact opposite, they wanted to expand upon the study.

Shimi said, “Our first study produced such a surprising result — that women who had had their appendix removed actually appeared more likely to become pregnant — that we wanted to look at a wider group to establish whether this was really related to the removal of the appendix, which if left can be a cause of inflammation.”

Frederic REGLAIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

After studying 112,607 women who had removed their tonsils, 54,675 women who had removed their appendixes, and 10,340 women who had undergone both surgeries, the researchers discovered the shocking statistics:

In the general population, the pregnancy rate is 43.7 percent. For the women with removed tonsils, the pregnancy rate was 53.4 percent. For women with removed appendixes, it was 54.4 percent. And women who had undergone BOTH surgeries had a pregnancy rate of 59.7 percent!

Now, as the researchers very much emphasize, this is NOT a recommendation to go get your tonsil and appendix removed if you have struggled with fertility.

But, considering the previous myths about appendectomies and infertility, young women who have undergone the surgery shouldn’t worry about their chances at future pregnancies.

Universal Images Group via Getty Images

And, as Shimi stated, the next step is figuring out why this is happening. Once they find that link, who knows what it may reveal to help women who are struggling to get pregnant.

Advertisement