Inflammation wreaks all sorts of havoc on the human body. One example involves reproduction, because inflammation is behind multiple issues—such as pelvic inflammatory disease and polycystic ovary syndrome—that increase a woman's risk of infertility. So can managing inflammation improve those women's chances of getting pregnant? Researchers at the National Institutes of Health set out to find out, and though they say more research is required to confirm their findings, the early answer appears to be yes, at least in certain women.
Reporting in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers studied more than 1,200 women between 18 and 40 who'd suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth. They were assigned at random to take either a low dose of aspirin (81mg) every day or a placebo for six menstrual cycles as they tried to conceive; if they became pregnant, they kept taking it through week 36, reports Live Science. Measuring inflammation by looking at a key marker, C-reactive protein (CRP), they found that aspirin lowered inflammation in the women with the highest CRP levels, and their live-birth rate was 59%, compared to 44% of women taking the placebo who had the highest levels—that's a 34% increase. Live Science notes that taking more than 100mg of daily aspirin while pregnant could be harmful. (Could aspirin help prevent Alzheimer's?)