Infertility is one of the lesser-known and unfortunate side-effects of celiac disease. According to Dr. Shelia Crowe, professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Virginia, in the article Can Foods Contribute to Infertility? in the New York Times, some gynecological and obstetrical problems, including infertility, miscarriage and premature births, are more common in women with untreated celiac disease. Even men aren’t immune: untreated celiac disease can lead to abnormal sperm and lower testosterone levels. Dr. Sarah Berga, from Emory University explains (in this video) that celiac disease can mimic fertility disorders. Most doctors have not been trained to screen for it, says Dr. Berga.
Another great point that Dr. Crowe makes is this: Who really feels like doing it when they feel like crap? Okay, that’s not how Dr. Crowe put it, exactly, but you get it, right? Before diagnosis, people with celiac disease feel horrible. Between the diarrhea, pain, fatigue and skin rashes, romance is the pretty much the last thing on our minds. And, just like we learned in middle school, it takes two to make a baby.
Dr. Crowe suggests that if a woman is having trouble conceiving or has had multiple miscarriages, “consideration should be given to screening her for celiac disease by antibody testing.” In an earlier article, Dr. Crowe offers readers good information on getting tested. As we know, the only treatment for celiac disease is by strictly following a totally gluten free diet. There is some good news, though, says Dr. Crowe, “With proper treatment with a gluten-free diet and correction of nutritional deficiencies, the prognosis for future pregnancies is much improved.”
I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2002, but throughout my childbearing years, I have suffered at least 8 miscarriages. Although I've been gluten free for years, I have been struggling with infertility for the past 7 years. What about you? Is celiac disease preventing you from making/expanding your family? Comment below or send me an email so we can share & compare.