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Infertility and Celiac's Disease, The Warning Signs

Aug 28, 2008
Undiagnosed Celiac's disease has been associated with infertility, miscarriage late onset of menstruation, irregular periods, early onset of menopause, and various pregnancy problems. Most of these issues can be resolved if Celiac's disease is diagnosed, and a gluten-free diet is followed.

Infertility and miscarriage are thought to be associated with Celiac's disease due to the body's inability to absorb the nutrients necessary to carry a healthy baby. Until recently, investigations into infertility rarely considered Celiac's disease as a cause, yet up to eight per cent of supposedly infertile women are now believed have gluten sensitivity.

Times are changing as experts acknowledge Celiac's disease as a major cause of fertility issues, and getting tested for Celiac's disease and starting to eliminate foods that contain gluten, has saved thousands of women the expense and emotional stress of IVF or other fertility treatments. If you are having problems conceiving, and are also experiencing any of the symptoms related to Celiac's disease and gluten sensitivity, ask your doctor for an initial blood test.

Research shows impact of Celiac's disease on the menstrual cycle

Studies of women with Celiac's disease have concluded that those who included gluten in their diet tended to start their periods around eighteen months later than those following a gluten allergy diet. They were also four times more likely to experience irregular periods, or gaps in menstruation, and to enter menopause around four to five years earlier. Again, this disruption of the menstrual cycle is linked to the inability of a celiac that is eating foods that contain gluten to absorb enough nutrients from their diet.

Celiacs should maintain a gluten-free diet while pregnant

Although many women with Celiac's disease manage to conceive and give birth to perfectly healthy babies, celiacs who continue to eat foods that contain gluten throughout pregnancy risk having a low birth weight baby, due to their inability to absorb sufficient nutrients for it to grow to a normal weight.

This contradicts a popular theory that celiacs should start to include gluten in their diet again when they become pregnant, to ensure their babies are getting enough grains. The most frequently asked question relating to Celiac's disease and pregnancy is 'will following a gluten-free diet harm my baby?' This is certainly not the case and one study has shown that celiacs that follow a gluten-free diet often have higher birth weight babies that mothers without celiacs disease who follow a regular diet.

Women that adopt the gluten-free diet between pregnancies reduce the risk of miscarriage, and low birth weight with their second baby. Many are also able to breastfeed their second child for longer, on average an extra two and a half months.

Testing for Celiac's disease should be part of infertility investigations

Celiac's disease and gluten sensitivity are such a common cause of fertility problems, miscarriages and irregular menstruation, that they should be one of the first lines of investigation for women that are experiencing these problems, especially of they have other possible symptoms of Celiac's disease as well. If your doctor doesn't suggest testing for gluten sensitivity as part of the investigations into fertility or menstrual issues, request a test yourself, or get a second opinion.
About the Author
Sean Ambrose runs http://www.gluten-answers.com the web's most thorough source on providing free information on learning to manage a Gluten free diet successfully.
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