Infertility Problems with Celiac Disease

You have now decided to start a family, or wish to add to your family but you seem to be having problems falling pregnant. This is obviously a very stressful time for both partners, and there are many causes of infertility.

Your first step should be to go to your General Practitioner (GP) and get a general health check-up and full blood test and discuss the matter with your doctor. Be aware that many GP's perform a variety of routine tests for infertility but not all will include a test for Celiac disease.

 

Some people are unaware that undiagnosed celiac disease (thus you are still eating gluten in your diet) can lead to infertility. Having a simple blood test added to you screening early in the process may stop some heart ache further down the track.   Some couples have advised that once they have been diagnosed as a celiac, and have been on a gluten free diet for about three months (either for the women or the man, or both), they have fallen pregnant (after trying for a long period of time). Some couples have reported that since being on a gluten free diet, their second baby was conceived easier, and was a normal baby weight, compared to their first baby who was born smaller.

What is Celiac disease? Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with how nutrients are absorbed. It is an autoimmune disease and is often inherited through your family. You can have this disease at any stage of life from childhood to being a senior citizen.

 

Research and studies in infertility as a result of celiac disease, have mainly been focused on women, be aware that researchers also established that men may suffer from infertility due to being an undiagnosed celiac sufferer.

Accurate diagnosis of the disease is important before you commence a gluten free diet. It is important not to self diagnose as your inability to fall, or maintain your pregnancy, may be nothing to do with celiac disease. People who do not suffer from a gluten intolerance, need gluten in their diet to maintain good health.

If you have been diagnosed with being a celiac, and you become pregnant it is very important to maintain a well balanced gluten-free diet for your well being and also the well being of your baby. Some women feel that they need to stop their gluten free diet whilst they are pregnant. This is not the case as you may become very sick (again) with the symptoms of celiac disease. Research has uncovered that if you are an undiagnosed celiac (or start eating gluten again whilst being pregnant), then you may have about 20% of experiencing pregnancy loss, and about 15% of women will experience restricted growth of your baby.

The two main points to remember are:

  • include celiac testing in your health check with your GP is you are experiencing problems falling pregnant
  • once you are diagnosed as a celiac, it is important to stay on a gluten free diet for life, especially during your pregnancy.