Celiac Disease and Infertility Linked

Celiac disease is becoming more widely understood by both the medical profession as well as the public.  Many are familiar with the common symptoms such as:  Chronic diarrhea, gas, bloating, acid reflux or constipation.  But recent studies have shown a close relationship between Celiac disease and infertility. 

According to the Center For Disease Control, in 2005, 2.1 million or 7.4% of married women were dealing with infertility issues.  (Unable to conceive when trying to for 12 consecutive months.)  According to the American Pregnancy Association in 2008 there were 60,000,000 women ages 15-44 in the USA.  Of those women 6,000,000 were involved with infertility issues.  Wayne Sinclair, M.D. & Richard W. Pressinger, (M.Ed.) reports his finding to show that 40% of infertility is due to the male. Taking these staggering statistics into consideration, it is comforting for couples to know that Dr. Shelia Crowe, a professor in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology in the department of medicine at the University of Virginia, has done extensive research into Celiac Disease and its relationship to infertility and other gynecological disorders.  Also she shows where studies from various countries indicate that fertility problems are indeed more common in women with untreated Celiac disease. The risk of suffering other gynecological and obstetrical problems like miscarriage or preterm birth and common menstrual disorders are also higher for those with Celiac disease. Dr. Crowe recommends that couples who are having difficulty conceiving a child both be tested for the disease.  Undiagnosed Ciliac disease in men has shown to cause a decrease in sperm, altered sperm and lower testosterone levels. It is important to remember that symptoms can vary widely, and symptoms are easily confused with those of other diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, iron-deficiency anemia, or even chronic fatigue syndrome.  Do not rule out Celiac disease as a puzzle piece in your fertility quest simply because neither party suffer the traditional symptoms. Dr. Crowe states in her article in the New York Times, "Indeed, there are many causes of infertility, miscarriages and small babies besides unrecognized Celiac disease......Still, my own clinical experience suggests that infertility and smaller or preterm babies are more common in women with untreated Celiac disease than those without. And the good news is that with proper treatment with a gluten-free diet and correction of nutritional deficiencies, the prognosis for future pregnancies is much improved." If you suspect you might have Celiac disease, please call our office today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Laura Asher and arrange for testing to be done.

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