Women with unexplained infertility have higher incidence of Celiac Disease

In a recent study published in the May-June 2011 issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, researchers demonstrated that women who presented with unexplained infertility had higher rates of celiac disease. The study involved 191 female patients with infertility who underwent routine infertility testing and serologic celiac disease screening. Consequently, four patients were found to have serum positive results for celiac disease, which was further confirmed after an evaluation by a gastroenterologist. The patients were advised to switch over to a gluten-free diet after they underwent nutritional therapy.

Although the incidence rate of undiagnosed celiac disease in the 188 patients who finished testing was expected to be 1.3%, the actual rate was found to be was 2.1%. The incidence rate of diagnosed celiac disease in women with unexplained infertility was found to be considerably high at 5.9% (3 of 51 women). It was fascinating to note that all four patients conceived within a year of being diagnosed with celiac disease.

Despite undersized study numbers, results reveal that dietary procedures may help reinforce fertility in certain women presenting with infertility.

Lead author and a reproductive endocrinologist at the Center for Women’s Reproductive Care at Columbia University, Janet Choi, MD, said: “Diagnosing celiac disease in an infertile woman would be particularly beneficial if the low-cost (and low-risk) therapy of pursuing a gluten-free diet could improve chances for conception.”

Co-author and director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Peter Green said that it was imperative to include these findings to the expanding knowledge pool to raise awareness regarding the effect of undiagnosed celiac disease on women’s reproductive health.

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