Thyroid autoantibodies, preterm birth, and miscarriageBMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d2260 (Published 09 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2260
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Thyroid and uterine problems may connect through injuries to their
autonomic nerves (1). Cardiac and hypogastric nerve plexi supply
autonomic nerves to the respective organs. Prolonged straining during
defaecation, and, in the second stage of labour, injures pelvic nerves
resulting in premenstrual dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, vulvodynia,
irritative bladder and bowel symptoms, some years later (2,
www.endometriosisexplained.com). Uterovaginal denervation may also
prevent synchronous decidualisation leading to miscarriage, and, promote
susceptibility to opportunistic infections resulting in the present
pandemic of preterm labour.
Different patterns of straining during defaecation at different ages
may also lead to denervation of thyroid with accompanying production of
autoantibodies (3). "Autoimmune" diseases are loosely defined by the
histological finding of CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes that may simply be a
response to loss of autonomic nerves (3, 4). Persistent straining during
defaecation - an unstudied form of "constipation" - may therefore
contribute to miscarriage, preterm labour and thyroid autoantibodies,
account for transient postpartum "autoimmune" symptoms, and, the excessive
incidence of "autoimmune" diseases in women (4).
The autonomic denervation view of chronic Western diseases develops
DP Burkitt's "dietary fibre" hypothesis and DP Barker's "fetal origins"
theory (4, www.western-diseases.com). In this view, animal models are
unlikely to be helpful in studying human "autoimmune" diseases as animals
consume unrefined diets and rarely suffer from constipation. Thyroxine
supplements are unlikely to improve constipation. Better diets, better
bowel habits and improved intrapartum care may prevent these unlikely
(1) Negro R, Stagnaro-Green A.
Thyroid autoantibodies, preterm birth and miscarriage.
BMJ 2011; 342: 1035-6.
(2) Quinn M.
Perivascular nerve fibre proliferation: the consequence of prolonged
J Obstet Gynaecol 2007; 27(2):185-8.
(3) Quinn M.
"Autoimmune" conditions and autonomic denervation.
Am J Med 2008; 121(8):e13.
(4) Quinn M
Autonomic denervation and the origins of chronic Western disease.
Med Hypoth 2010; 74(5):937-945.
Competing interests: No competing interests