Celiac Disease & Infertility

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Celiac Disease & infertility

Celiac Disease and Infertility


Celiac disease is an inherited condition. It occurs when gluten-a protein found in wheat, rye and barley-causes damage to the small intestine. Vital nutrients are not absorbed in the gut, as they would be in a healthy intestinal tract. Celiac disease affects people differently and not all of the symptoms are obvious. The classic symptoms of celiac include diarrhea, stomach pain, weight loss, and, in the case of children, delayed growth. For some people, the symptoms are more subtle, such as bloating and excessive gas. Some symptoms not generally associated with the intestinal tract are also considered symptomatic of celiac disease. Fatigue, weakness, joint pain and migraines, are often diagnosed as anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, stress, or irritable bowel syndrome, when in fact it is celiac disease. Infertility affects as many as one in six couples in their reproductive years in America alone. Many cases of infertility can be traced to a specific cause. However, nearly 15 percent of cases of infertility remain unexplained-there is no apparent cause. For a couple trying to conceive, this type of infertility can be a devastating experience.


It has recently become known that a hereditary condition that often goes undetected and undiagnosed, can lead to infertility. Celiac disease has been linked to repeated miscarriages, early menopause, and infertility in women of childbearing age. The symptoms of celiac disease are not always obvious and it may be years before the symptoms reach a point where diagnosis is made. By then, it may be too late in life for the woman to have babies. The condition not only affects women. Men who have undiagnosed celiac disease may also be infertile because of it.

Celiac Disease, in layman's terms, is a disease where a person's gastric intestines (GI) cannot absorb the gluten that is found in foods such as breads, pasta, cookies, pizza crust, and many other foods containing wheat, barley, or rye. Celiac Disease is defined “as a permanent intolerance to the gliadin fraction of wheat protein and related alcohol-soluble proteins (called prolamines) found in rye and barley.” When a person is diagnosed with Celiac Disease, one will discover that the body's immune system is attacking the normal tissue like the intestinal walls, thus causing illness. As long as one continues to eat foods that contain gluten, the condition will continue to be a problem. Celiac Disease causes inflammation of a person's intestinal villi, which are the small, finger-like projections in the small intestine. Because of this inflammation, the critical vitamins, minerals and calories we normally get from food is not being absorbed by the body. Rresearch shows Celiac Disease has a negative effect on a woman's reproduction system.

Celiac Disease has several symptoms such as iron-deficiency anemia, diarrhea, short in stature, and lactose intolerance. There are other non-classical symptoms to be aware of as well including abdominal pain, irritable bowel, and osteoporosis. If another autoimmune disease, like type I diabetes, thyroid disease, or a family history of ...
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