Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, their immune system attacks the lining of their small intestine, which can lead to malabsorption of nutrients and a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue.
While celiac disease is a well-known condition, it is estimated that up to 83% of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed. This means that they are not aware that they have the condition, and they may continue to eat gluten, which can lead to a range of health problems.
One of the lesser-known complications of undiagnosed celiac disease is an increased risk of miscarriages and stillbirths. In this blog post, we will explore the link between celiac disease and infertility in more detail.
The Link Between Celiac Disease and Infertility
Several studies have suggested that women with undiagnosed celiac disease are at an increased risk of miscarriages and stillbirths. One study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that women with celiac disease who were not following a gluten-free diet had a significantly higher risk of miscarriages and stillbirths compared to those who were following a gluten-free diet.
Another study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada found that women with undiagnosed celiac disease were more likely to have a history of miscarriages, and that the risk of miscarriage decreased significantly once they started following a gluten-free diet.
The exact reason why celiac disease is linked to miscarriages and stillbirths is not yet fully understood. However, it is thought that the inflammation and nutrient deficiencies associated with celiac disease may play a role. For example, inflammation in the uterus can affect implantation and lead to miscarriages, while nutrient deficiencies can lead to fetal growth restriction and stillbirths.
Diagnosing Celiac Disease
The only way to diagnose celiac disease is through a blood test and a biopsy of the small intestine. If you suspect that you may have celiac disease, it is important to speak to your doctor and get tested. If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, following a gluten-free diet is the only way to manage the condition and reduce the risk of complications.
Gluten-Free Diet and Pregnancy
If you have celiac disease and are planning a pregnancy, it is important to follow a strict gluten-free diet to reduce the risk of complications. This means avoiding all sources of gluten, including wheat, barley, and rye. It is also important to work with a dietitian who specializes in celiac disease to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.
If you are already pregnant and have been diagnosed with celiac disease, it is important to speak to your doctor and dietitian about managing the condition during pregnancy. In some cases, additional supplements or medications may be needed to ensure that you and your baby are getting all of the nutrients you need.
If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, following a strict gluten-free diet is the only way to manage the condition and reduce the risk of complications. If you are planning a pregnancy or are already pregnant, it is important to work with a dietitian who specializes in celiac disease to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.
On a personal note –
“As someone who has experienced fertility issues, this correlation became quite prominent when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Once I had moved over to a full gluten free diet, many of my fertility issues had calmed down and my system started to function much better.
Perhaps if my gynecologist many years ago was aware that there is a possible link between celiac disease and fertility issues, I may have been able to get a celiac diagnosis much earlier to begin my road to recover much sooner.
Perhaps if you know of anyone who is struggling with fertility, and they happen to mention that they are not responding well to gluten, it might be worth suggesting they get some tests done just in case they do have an underlying issue with Celiac Disease.”
Take a walk on the gluten-free side! Our Science and Research category blogs are the perfect place to explore all things Celiac and Gluten-Free, with loads of captivating topics to discover.
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- Exploring The Connection Between Humans Microbes And Celiac Disease
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- What Are The Food Additives That May Cause Celiac Disease?
Remember to always stay curious and continue learning. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Until next time…Jodes