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Thread: Gluten and Infertility.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Gluten and Infertility.

    Hello ladies,

    I hope you guys are all doing well. I have a 5 yr old autistic daughter called Layla. Ive done lots of research as you can imagine on ways to recover her from this horrible illness. One of the ways to do this is with a gluten free diet. We'll be implementing it soon. The reason that I'm posting in here is that Ive repeatedly come across references on a link between fertility problems and miscarriage and GI (Gluten Intolerance). I thought I'd come in and post some info that I found and you guys can either disregard it if it doesn't apply to you or investigate further if you think it may. So I'll just post some quotes If anybody needs further info or sources,.

    What symptoms may be caused by a gluten allergy?

    Abdominal Pain
    Canker sores
    Iron deficient anemia
    Irritable bowel syndrome
    Joint Pain
    Poor Growth
    Poor immune function (frequent illness)
    BACKGROUND: Coeliac women may suffer from gynaecological and obstetric complications. It is possible that these complications are the first symptom of coeliac disease. AIMS: To investigate the occurrence of subclinical coeliac disease in patients with infertility or recurrent miscarriages. SUBJECTS: Women of reproductive age who were attending the hospital because of either primary or secondary infertility, or two or more miscarriages. Women undergoing sterilisation served as control subjects. METHODS: The diagnostic investigation for infertility included the endocrine status, diagnostic laparoscopy, investigation of tubal patency, postcoital test, and semen analysis of the partner. Circulating antibodies against IgA class reticulin and gliadin were used in screening for coeliac disease. In positive cases, the diagnosis was confirmed by small bowel biopsy specimens. RESULTS: Four (2.7%) of 150 women in the infertility group, and none of the 150 control subjects were found to have coeliac disease (p = 0.06). All four women with coeliac disease suffered from infertility of unexplained origin. Altogether 98 women had no discoverable reason for infertility. Thus, in this subgroup the frequency of coeliac disease was 4.1% (four of 98), the difference from the control group being statistically significant (p = 0.02). None of the coeliac women had extensive malabsorption, but two had iron deficiency anaemia. One women with coeliac disease has had a normal delivery. None of the 50 women with miscarriage had coeliac disease. CONCLUSION: Patients having fertility problems may have subclinical coeliac disease, which can be detected by serological screening tests. Silent coeliac disease should be considered in the case of women with unexplained infertility.
    The following article is from pubmed.
    Infertility, obstetric and gynaecological problems in coeliac sprue.

    Sher KS, Jayanthi V, Probert CS, Stewart CR, Mayberry JF.

    Leicester General Hospital, UK.

    There is now substantial evidence that coeliac sprue is associated with infertility both in men and women. In women it can also lead to delayed menarche, amenorrhoea, early menopause, recurrent abortions, and a reduced pregnancy rate. In men it can cause hypogonadism, immature secondary sex characteristics and reduce semen quality. The real mechanism by which coeliac sprue produces these changes is unclear, but factors such as malnutrition, iron, folate and zinc deficiencies have all been implicated. In addition in men gonadal dysfunction is believed to be due to reduced conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone caused by low levels of 5 alpha-reductase in coeliac sprue. This leads to derangement of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Hyperprolactinaemia is seen in 25% of coeliac patients, which causes impotence and loss of libido. Gluten withdrawal and correction of deficient dietary elements can lead to a return of fertility both in men and women.
    (Celiac disease is the more extreme version of GI, and a lot of Dr's test for it, but routine celiac tests may not pick up GI).

    The Case of Susanna Lohiniemi
    Even with attentive medical care Susanna Lohiniemi's Gluten intolerance went undiagnosed for more than a decade.

    Her symptoms were flu-like (headache, muscular aches), she was always exhausted, had mild iron deficiency, irregular menstruation, slight hair loss, flatulence and nausea. For ten years her doctors did not suspect Gluten intolerance.

    This was despite her mother being treated successfully for dermatitis herpetiformis (yet another form of Gluten intolerance) by having a Gluten-free diet.

    Susanna's results for the usual Celiac blood tests were negative so doctors thought her unlikely to have Gluten intolerance. Susanna's account goes on:

    " . . . for a patient with Celiac Disease to be slightly overweight and in good physical condition wasn't typical, they said. I miscarried twice in one year.

    'It happens', they said."
    What they failed to pick up was that lots of cases of Gluten intolerance are missed when doctors use a method that only detects Celiac Disease.

    Susanna was eventually diagnosed via a biopsy ordered by a temporary locum doctor who became curious and reviewed her file. The ensuing treatment of a Gluten-free diet brought immediate relief from symptoms (3 weeks) and a whole new life: no longer tired and the headaches disappeared. She went on to have two children via uncomplicated and successful pregnancies.
    Take care ladies. I really hope I haven't offended anyone by posting here.

    xx Nat
    Last edited by hannanat; August 19th, 2009 at 02:45 PM.

  2. #2


    Hi Nat,

    That is really interesting. Thanks

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2004


    My aunty has coeliac disease (which causes problems with digesting gluten) and she had two miscarriages and when her second son was born he was full term but very low birthweight and his placenta was really small. My aunt remembers the doctors calling others in to look at it after it came out they had never seen such a small one.
    After she was diagnosed with coeliac disease she was told it was likely the cause of this and her miscarriages. So definitely something worth looking at since gluten intolerance and coeliac disease aren't exactly uncommon.

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