Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Infertility, Miscarriage & Celiac Disease

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.  


Jill said...

Hi! I didn't get diagnosed until I was 47 and didn't have symptoms until my I was 46+ and started throwing up and feeling like cr@p. I know that I've always had the gene but never knew why it finally showed up in my later 40's. I had an ectopic in '96 that ruptured (was really bad) and then proceeded to have 3 miscarriages after that...but then at nearly 40 had my miracle child! Can't really tie it to the Celiac but I can't explain how w/only one tube and 3 miscarriages that I finally got my wee one who is now 8!

Lizzie said...

Congrats! (8 years later!)
I'm so glad for you! Does your child have celiac?

Patty Cosby said...

I was just diagnosed w/CD in October 2009. I had four children from 1985 to 1993, had my tubes tied, then had my tubes untied in 2000 and proceeded to have four more children. Infertility has not been an issue for me! However, I have not even had a scare since my last one was born in 07/07. I'd love to have another, but feel that this is it. (Oh - also had one miscarriage...) Already screening the other kids for CD. Believe the youngest one had it.

Lizzie said...

Wow Patty - that sounds like me...sort of; I had 3 children & 4 m/c's from 85 - 93, then had my tubes tied. Had them untied in '02, then 4 mores mc's (and lots of failed IVFs, etc.)
How are you doing since your DX in Oct.?