Is this the week to debunk long-held research-based facts regarding celiac disease? Earlier this week we reported a recent study that there was no connection between cesarean section deliveries and those children getting celiac disease. For years, it has been believed c-sections may be increasing the risk of celiac.
Now just a few days later, Gastroenterology publishes a new study entitled Women With Celiac Disease Present with Fertility Problems No More Often Than Women in the General Population. Infertility has been listed as a potential symptom of celiac disease for years, including from these well-respected celiac resources:
- National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
- University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center
- National Institutes of Health
This new research found more than 2 million women of child bearing age in the United Kingdom. They looked at the records between 1990 and 2013, which were a part of the UK’s “The Health Improvement Network” database. Of that number, 6506 women had celiac disease and 211 or 4.5% had clinically recorded fertility problems which the report says is, “almost exactly the same as in the overall population”.
One note from the study however is that women with diagnosed celiac disease ages 25-29 had a 40% relative increase in fertility problems compared with women who didn’t have celiac.
The research concluded, “Although undiagnosed [celiac disease] is likely to be an underlying cause of unexplained infertility for some women, our findings indicate that most women with celiac disease, either undiagnosed or diagnosed do not have a substantially greater likelihood of clinically recorded fertility problems than women without celiac disease”.
I have always wondered why fertility doctors don’t automatically screen referred patients with unexplained infertility for celiac disease. This report addresses that, “therefore, screening when women initially present with fertility problems may not identify a significant number of women with celiac disease beyond the general population prevalence.”
The authors added, “These findings should assure most women with celiac disease that they do not have an increased risk for fertility problems.”
I am not sure what I think about this topic. Here is my primary question…that I have wondered for years:
Why would it hurt to do a celiac serology test on someone with unexplained infertility? Going through the expense of fertility treatments if celiac disease is really the problem…doesn’t seem right to me. — Just my opinion here.
Will the aforementioned organizations change their symptom information based on this one study? That remains to be seen. So feel free to talk to your doctor about this topic.