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2015-02-27

Coeliac Could be a Common Cause of Infertility

While there are many causes of female infertility, a newly published study suggests that women who don't have an identifiable reason for their failure to conceive should be screened for coeliac disease.

There is a lack of definitive evidence to say that celiac disease causes infertility, but there are many anecdotal experiences where women with infertility have conceived after being diagnosed with coeliac disease and put on a gluten-free diet.

This makes a lot of sense because if people with coeliac disease consume wheat, barley or rye, or foods that contain those grains, their immune response leads to intestinal damage, which ultimately leads to malnutrition. In turn, malnutrition then goes on to negatively affect many body systems and tissues/organs.

To explore the link between celiac disease and infertility, researchers pooled results from previously published studies. The results found that women with infertility were 3.5 times more likely to have coeliac disease than women who didn't have difficulty conceiving. For women with no known cause for their infertility, the connection was even stronger. These women were six times more likely to have coeliac disease.
"Coeliac disease has been claimed to be the most common cause of unexplained infertility and these results support that conclusion," said Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Coeliac disease is not always recognized right away in women with fertility issues because ob-gyns will typically send them to see an endocrinologist, to explore hormonal causes, before they consider conditions such as coeliac disease. The study's findings suggest that ob-gyns should consider a blood test to rule out celiac disease before sending a woman to other specialists.

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Source: Celiac Disease in Women With Infertility: A Meta-Analysis

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