The May-June 2011 issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine published a study where 191 females with unexplained fertility were evaluated to find the prevalence of undiagnosed celiac disease and unexplained infertility. Each participant underwent standard screening for infertility as well as serological testing for celiac disease.
Out of the 188 females who completed the study it found that 2.1 % had undiagnosed celiac disease – which is higher then the average population of 1.3%. This may seem insignificant, but the rate of celiac disease among women with unexplained fertility was 5.9% (or 3 out of 51 women). According to materials provided by Columbia University Medical Centre, the four women who were diagnosed as having celiac disease in this study all went on to conceive within a year of starting the gluten-free diet.
According to the lead author of the study, Janet Choi, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Center for Women’s Reproductive Care at Columbia University, “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”.
Though this study is a small one, the numbers suggest that undiagnosed celiac disease can impact areas of our life that are not traditionally thought to be a result of celiac disease – especially when it comes to female reproductive health.