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Women with Reproductive Health Issues Should Be Screened for Celiac Disease

Posted Sep 15 2010 8:12am

It took my mom and dad almost 10 years to have a successful pregnancy...yes, they eventually got me and my awesome little sister, but it wasn't without spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatments and repeated heartbreak from miscarriage after miscarriage. If the doctors had diagnosed my wonderful mother with Celiac Disease when she was in her 20s instead of 40s, it could have saved my parents years of distress and grief when they started trying to have children.

The good news is that researchers are getting closer to understanding how Celiac Disease affects reproductive health. In fact, a new study in the journal BMC Gastroenterology finds that women with Celiac Disease are much more likely to experience reproductive health issues than healthy women. The study, which was conducted by Italian researchers from the Department of Medical and Occupational Science at the University of Foggia Viale Pinto, evaluated 62 women with Celiac Disease and compared their reproductive health experiences with 186 healthy women.

The researchers found that nearly 20 percent of women with Celiac Disease experienced amenorrhea (disruption of the menstrual cycle or completely missing a period), while only 2.2% of healthy women experienced the same complication. Additionally, the study found that women with Celiac Disease were much more likely to experience complications such as threatened miscarriage, hypertension, intrauterine growth retardation and anemia than their healthy counterparts.

The researchers conclude that physicians should screen all female patients who experience reproductive health issues for Celiac Disease in hopes of starting the gluten-free diet and preventing future reproductive complications. This is huge news for the Celiac Disease community and could save millions of woman the heartache of repeated reproductive health issues. After all, a simple change to a gluten-free diet fixes the problem and allows a lifetime of health and happiness. 

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