Infertility and Celiac Disease Linked, But Not Forever

Baby feet! I could plotz.
Mondays are for happy news, don’t you think?

 

We’ve spoken at length before about the various studies showing that women with celiac disease are at a greater risk for fertility problems. And we’ve all heard the anecdotes of individual women who — after years of expensive, emotionally-draining, unsuccessful attempts to become pregnant — give up gluten and immediately have a bun in the oven (pun intended).

So, OK, that’s all still true – but there have also been less-conclusive studies, and so some researchers in Sweden and Italy set out to determine what’s actually going on.

They took a look at data from almost 11,500 Swedish women aged 18-45, with biopsy-proven celiac disease. These women were compared to a larger cohort of “normal” Swedish women and fertility, measured by number of children, was examined.

Researchers found that the women with celiac disease actually had normal fertility rates, up to a point. That point? Two years prior to diagnosis. To put that in perspective, the average celiac case is only diagnosed after 6-10 years of illness, according to the NFCA.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, women with celiac disease were slightly more fertile five years after diagnosis than their age-matched counterparts.

To read the study in its entirety, visit Gut Journal. For an overview, check out celiac.com.

For a good overview of infertility and celiac disease, I like the NFCA’s page best; it also has a list of outside resources if you scroll to the bottom.

Do you know of any women whose infertility was remedied by a gluten-free diet? How long did it take them to figure out that gluten was the culprit?

 


9 thoughts on “Infertility and Celiac Disease Linked, But Not Forever”

  1. Me! My husband and I have been married for 6 years, and have experienced infertility throughout our marriage. I was diagnosed with Celiac 4 years ago (after 10 years of symptoms), and the only reason we and the Drs could figure for the cause of our struggles was the Celiac. We were blessed to be able to adopt a beautiful girl, and now, suddenly and quite unexpectedly, we are pregnant! It just seems that my body has healed enough to maintain a viable pregnancy. We are so excited!

  2. We had two miscarriages and three years of failed fertility guidance/treatment. After an IVF miscarriage, they diagnosed her with celiac disease – only because we demanded the test. 6 months sans gluten and another IVF and we have twin girls born in January 2010. We documented our story on our website – ledonni.com – as the plot thickened even after pregnancy. I am sure celiac was the infertility culprit. Not sure how long she had it for – not sure how anyone knows this.

  3. I was not diagnosed until long after my hysterectomy. Had I known I had celiac I’m sure I would have welcomed healthy pregnancies instead of the 4 miscarriages I endured. I’m glad younger women are benefitting from these studies. Best of luck to you!

  4. I’m fairly sure that our fertility woes are related to my Celiac – although they all happened post diagnosis. Three first trimester miscarriages and a late second trimester loss in the four years that I have been maintaining a gluten-free diet – all without explanation and fertility/recurrent miscarriage tests all came back normal. Happily, we have a beautiful baby boy who joined our family through adoption! I’m glad to see some attention paid to this link though.

  5. Though I don’t have any children and my husband and I don’t plan to have any, for years I struggled with painful endometriosis. When I was 27 I gave up gluten. Within two years, not only did I not experience the symptoms anymore, but my doctor told me that all signs of the disease – with the exception of residual, old scarring caused by the endo and the yearly scrapes – were completely gone. I have enjoyed over five years with no signs of the endometriosis or any of the pain associated with it that I used to live with on a daily basis. :)

  6. I had two miscarriages, then saw a fertility acupuncturist who, based on symptoms I was having, suggested I do a food elimination test. I did, and found I was gluten intolerant at best. At the same time, we tried fertility treatments with no luck. Three months later with no gluten, and I got pregnant the old fashioned way, and no miscarriage! We now have a beautiful 7 month old baby! I’m pretty convinced it was the gluten; had symptoms for years. Doc says I could easily have Celiac, so i eat as if I do.

  7. My husband and I were told our chances of pregnancy were 5% :(( After 6 years we tried every type of fertility treatment and all bad news. I was diagnosed with CelIac Disease and 1 year later I was pregnant! Then 19 months after he was born I had another healthy baby:)) There is no doubt n my mind it was all Celiac:)())

  8. After trying to pregnant for over two years, including a few rounds of Clomid, I had an acupuncturist suspect that I was gluten intolerant. She thought this was giving me thyroid problems that were going undetected by the normal blood work my fertility doctors had ordered. More tests in that category confirmed that I did have a thyroid condition. I gave up gluten and one month later I was pregnant. And that was without the aid hormone therapy.

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