doctor imageThere is new research on the safety of the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine for adult women, and it had an interesting note on the HPV vaccine, celiac disease in the women they studied. If you have a teenage daughter (or have had one in the last ten years) no doubt you know about the HPV vaccine.

What is the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is a series of shots recommended to teenage girls before they become sexually active to prevent most types of HPV, a sexually transmitted virus. According to WebMD, “The virus often clears from the body on its own. If it persists, it can lead to cervical, anal, and throat cancers and to genital warts.”

HPV vaccine, celiac disease link?

That brings us to the study recently published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Researchers studied three million Scandinavian adult women to see if the HPV vaccine had any connection to 44 chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, epilepsy and even celiac disease. The study spanned a 10 years.

Researchers found the vaccine did not raise any safety issues of concern, for adult women ages 18 to 44.

However, they did raise one small exception: celiac disease. Researchers thought this was not overly significant, but since the topic is in the news, we at The Savvy Celiac thought it was worth a quick mention.

WebMD explained the celiac disease link and the authors reaction to it this way:

The study did find slightly higher odds for celiac disease among vaccinated women, but this was seen only in Denmark. The authors noted that celiac disease is ‘markedly underdiagnosed’ in the Danish population, so that could account for that finding.

Science Daily quoted the research:

Because previous research has shown that celiac disease is markedly underdiagnosed in the general adult population in Denmark, the findings may be due to unmasking of pre-existing celiac disease. No other serious safety concerns were found.

Researchers say this study supplements other safety studies that have been done for adolescent girls who are the main target for receiving this vaccine. But since adult women are opting for the vaccine as well, they wanted to gather additional information on that 18-44 age group.

Does this mean you or your teenage daughter should not get vaccinated for HPV for fear of development of celiac disease? This research doesn’t appear to be saying that. But as always, if you are concerned, consult your physician before making a decision.


*Note: I am not a physician nor a medical professional. Always seek the advice of your medical doctor before making a decision like this that could affect your health.

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