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Association of pregnancies with risk of multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler. 2022 Mar 18:13524585221080542. doi: 10.1177/13524585221080542. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35301890.

Authors/Editors: Gasperi C, Hapfelmeier A, Schneider A, Kuhn KA, Donnachie E, Hemmer B.
Publication Date: 2022



Background: Pregnancies have an impact on the disease course of multiple sclerosis (MS), but their relationship with MS risk is yet unclear.

Objective: To determine the relationships of pregnancies and gynecological diagnoses with MS risk.

Methods: In this retrospective case-control study, we assessed differences in gynecological International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) code recording rates between women with MS (n = 5720), Crohn's disease (n = 6280), or psoriasis (n = 40,555) and women without these autoimmune diseases (n = 26,729) in the 5 years before diagnosis.

Results: Twenty-eight ICD-10 codes were recorded less frequently for women with MS as compared to women without autoimmune disease, 18 of which are pregnancy-related. After adjustment for pregnancies, all codes unrelated to pregnancies were still negatively associated with MS. In a sensitivity analysis excluding women with evidence for possible demyelinating events before diagnosis, all associations were more pronounced. In comparison to women with psoriasis, most associations could be confirmed; that was not true in comparison to women with Crohn's disease.

Conclusion: Our findings provide evidence for a possible protective effect of pregnancies on MS risk likely independent of or in addition to a previously suggested reversed causality. The negative associations of gynecological disorders with disease risk need further investigation. The associations might be shared by different autoimmune diseases.


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