New research just published this week looked at the association between celiac disease and women’s reproductive troubles. It is estimated more than 36,000 American women are infertile because they have undiagnosed celiac disease*. The details in this new study are truly interesting.
According to the study’s abstract published in BMC Gastroenterology Friday, researchers looked at 62 women with celiac who were also of childbearing age, plus a control group of 186 other women. Researchers found celiac women had a higher percentage of trouble with their menstrual cycles: “19.4% frequency of amenorrhea [not getting your period] was reported among celiac women versus 2.2% among the healthy controls.”
Plus “the likelihood of having at least one complication during pregnancy has been estimated to be at least four times higher in celiac women than in healthy women”, the report said.
“A significant correlation has emerged for celiac disease and threatened abortion, gestational hypertension [high blood pressure during pregnancy], placenta abruption [peeling away of the placenta from the inner wall of the uterus], severe anaemia [very low iron], uterine hyperkinesia [abnormal increased muscle activity], intrauterine growth restriction [poor growth of baby in the womb]”, the report said.
Plus a shorter average gestation was also observed in celiac moms along with lower birthweight of their babies.
The conclusion of this study:
“The occurrence of significant correlation between celiac disease and reproductive disorders could suggest to consider celiac disease diagnostic procedures (serological screening) [blood test] in women affected by these disorders.”
So my initial question based on the information was: “Were these reproductive symptoms before, during or after diagnosis of celiac?” The full report clarifies whether these women were pre-diagnosis or post-diagnosis in their celiac disease journey. I would detail them here, but the numbers of women are very different for each issue (periods, pregnancies, complications) that was studied. From my perspective: It looks like many of them had the above issues because they were either not diagnosed with celiac just yet, or they didn’t follow the gluten-free diet as instructed. To see the specific findings on the celiac-diagnosis status on all of the above information I encourage you to to read pages 8 and 9 in this report.