The statistic says on the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center’s website, “610,000 women in the US experience unexplained infertility; 6% (36,600) of these women might never learn that celiac disease is the cause.”
The average cost per InVitro Fertilization treatment is $8,000-$12,000. But what if every woman who had trouble conceiving was tested for celiac first?
Celiac and Infertility
Infertility has long been a symptom of celiac disease… but I have often wondered if infertility specialists consistently look for celiac before proceeding with regular infertility treatments.
A recent study shows that women who have trouble with unexplained infertility actually have an increased prevalence of celiac disease. This study is published in the May-June 2011 issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, I saw it in a news release Thursday night.
The study is relatively small (less than 200), looking at patients “presenting with infertility”. Besides getting routine infertility testing, they also had the blood test for celiac disease. 4 were immediately identified as testing positive for celiac. They were educated and told to go on the gluten free diet.
The abstract then says about the results, “The overall prevalence of celiac disease in this population was 2.1% (4/188). There was a significantly increased prevalence (5.9%) of undiagnosed celiac disease among women presenting with unexplained infertility (n=51).”
So what they’re saying is that specifically for those women who have unexplained infertility the chance of it being celiac disease is even higher! The original 4 women identified as having celiac — the report says they all conceived within a year of diagnosis and being on the gluten free diet.
The news release quoted the author, “Diagnosing celiac disease in an infertile woman would be particularly beneficial if the low-cost (and low-risk) therapy of pursuing a gluten-free diet could improve chances for conception,” says lead author Janet Choi, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Center for Women’s Reproductive Care at Columbia University.
In other words, (in my view — and no, I’m not a medical doctor) it makes sense that if you have trouble conceiving and don’t have a reason for the infertility, you should ask your doctor about getting a celiac blood screening done before you drop thousands of dollars in IVF treatments.
Note: I am not a medical professional, always discuss medical concerns or changes with your provider first.