Celiac Disease & Unexplained Infertility

When the very frustrating diagnosis comes to a couple of "unexplained infertility," they are faced with several choices. Perhaps the most important is whether to hold fast, not give up and continue their efforts to conceive. If they have had one roadblock after another, it may be quite a challenge to stay the course and remain positive.

Could A Hereditary Condition Be The Culprit?

Recent health studies suggest that a hereditary condition that often goes undiagnosed may be the culprit in as many as eight percent of cases of unexplained infertility. Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is also found in many everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and even lip balm.

A genetic disease, celiac disease is hereditary and runs in families. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, the body responds by damaging or destroying villi - the tiny, finger like protrusions lining the small intestine. Absorption of vital nutrients is thwarted and the person becomes malnourished. The only way to treat this disease is with a gluten-free diet for life.

Both Men And Women Suffer Infertility Due To Celiac Disease

A number of studies have shown that unexplained infertility can be treated with a gluten-free diet. It is important to know that even though most research on celiac disease and its affect on infertility have focused on women, researchers have established that men also suffer from infertility due to undiagnosed celiac disease. A number of studies have proven that unexplained infertility can be successfully treated with the gluten-free diet necessary to treat celiac disease. Other studies have indicated that factors outside of malabsorption results in infertility, delayed menarche, and early menopause.

A Gluten-Free Diet May Be The Ticket To Conception

Researchers who have studied infertility in women have discovered that they test positive for celiac disease-related antibodies at a rate of ten times higher than the normal population. Women who are diagnosed with celiac disease and are infertile do not always exhibit deficiencies in iron, B-12, or folate. This information identifies other celiac-related issues that contribute to their infertility.

In one study of pregnant women with celiac disease who did not eat a gluten-free diet, 21 percent of the women experienced pregnancy loss and 16 percent suffered fetal growth restriction. While malabsorption of nutrients is not the only cause of infertility and pregnancy related problems for women with celiac disease, the gluten-free diet is proving to be an invaluable tool in improving the chances for conception and delivery of healthy babies to such women.

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