The problem is Celiac's disease - an allergy to wheat, rye and barley that some experts say is responsible for up to half of all cases of unexplained infertility and may even cause recurrent miscarriage.. Here's what you need to know . . .
by Colette Bouchez
If you and your partner are one of millions of couples worldwide grappling with a diagnosis of “unexplained Infertility” then you already know how frustrating this condition can be. While doctors are quick to pinpoint that “something “ is wrong - they seldom can tell you what, or what can specifically help you to get pregnant.
Now, however, a growing body of evidence has begun to shed light on a new diagnosis of unexplained infertility - and one that just might put you on the fast track to conception.
The problem is Celiac disease - otherwise known as a “gluten “ allergy. While once thought to be a rare, inherited genetic condition, it is now been believed to affect over 2 million people in the United State alone - and many more may be undiagnosed.
“Approximately 3 million suffer needlessly, undiagnosed
with this condition - most never realizing that a change
in diet could change their life ”, said Alice Bast,
Executive Director of the National Foundation for
in a recent interview.
Of those couples affected by unexplained infertility,
experts say that for almost half, gluten allergy may be
the cause or a significant contributing factor.
And while for some the symptoms are easy to recognize
(including a history of gastrointestinal upsets, diarrhea,
gas and bloating) for many others signs are
much more vague making the condition much harder to
recognize. Indeed, problems can be as diverse as
headaches, joint pain, “brain fog”, fatigue, loss of energy, irregular menstrual cycles, anemia, and in many instances, unexplained infertility.
Indeed, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness reports that on average it can take 10 years -or sometimes more - for people to get the correct diagnosis.
Understanding The Link Between Celiac disease & Infertility
In order to absorb nutrients from food, your intestines come equipped with tiny hair-like projections called villi. Think of these as tiny pond-fronds moving back and forth, helping to pull the nutrients from foods and send them into your blood stream.
In those who have Celiac disease, eating products rich in gluten (a type of protein commonly found in rye, wheat and barley) ignites an immunologic firestorm that causes the body to produce toxins. It is these toxins that damage the villi, causing them to lie flat. When this happens nutrients are not properly absorbed - including those from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals and in some cases even water and bile salts.
But that's not the only problem that occurs. Increasingly research suggests these same toxins create body-wide inflammation capable of affecting your health from head to toe - including your fertility.
* Currently, researchers at Molinette Hospital in Turin Italy report that early findings of a study of women with Celiac disease indicate the rate of “unexplained infertility could be as much as 3.5% higher than in the general population. They also suggest Celiac disease increases the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight babies.
* In another study doctors from Tampere University Hospital and Medical School at the University of Tampere, in Finland found that the rate of celiac disease among women reporting infertility was 4.1%.
* In a study conducted by physicians at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia doctors found that the rate of recurring pregnancy loss is four times higher in women with Celiac disease.
Moreover, in a meta- analysis study conducted jointly by doctors at the Technion School of Medicine in Haifa, Israel and St. Luke's Roosevelt Medical Center in New York City, doctors concluded that not only is there a strong association between Celiac disease and infertility, it also remains a condition continually overlooked by many obstetricians and even fertility doctors.