Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It turns out that in approximately 1 out of 100 healthy Americans the immune system responds to the consumption of this protein by attacking the wall of the small intestine – harming its ability to absorb nutrients from food. According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, an astonishing 97% of these people, however, do not even know they have this condition – called celiac disease.
What does Celiac Disease Have to Do with Infertility?
A lot. In fact, the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center says, “Any individual who has experienced persistent miscarriage or infertility where a medical cause could not be found needs to be tested for celiac disease.” And although the probability of having celiac disease is around 1% for the average healthy American, the probability increases to 6% for women with unexplained infertility.
Women with celiac disease who adopt a gluten-free diet have regained their fertility. One such case was shared by Sharkey’s Healing Center in their August 2008 newsletter. A couple at their center had been trying to conceive for three years and received the diagnosis of unexplained infertility. The center recommend that the woman get tested for celiac disease. Her doctor was opposed to the idea but did the tests anyway. The tests came back positive and after three months on a gluten-free diet the couple conceived.
Heard of celiac disease?
This isn’t because it’s rare – it’s more common than Crohn’s Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease – combined. But this disease is not well known by the general public or well understood by general practitioners.
The Wm. K. Warren Medical Research Center for Celiac Disease states that the symptoms for celiac disease are varied but may include any of the following:
• Bloating, gas or abdominal pain
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Chronic fatigue and weakness
• Itchy skin rash
• Fatigue and weakness
• Irritability or behavior change
• Unexplained weight loss
• Delayed growth
• Mouth ulcers
• Tingling or numbness in hands & feet
How is Celiac Disease Treated?
The treatment of celiac disease is a gluten-free diet for life. But experts strongly discourage going on a gluten-free diet until a firm diagnosis has been made since a gluten-free diet (even for just a month) makes a diagnosis difficult.
Is Gluten-free Everyone’s Solution?
No. Absolutely not. But since it’s not recognized well by doctors, it may be up to the patient to pay attention to their own signs and symptoms and suggest the testing.
I’ve been struggling with infertility now for three years and have recently adopted a gluten-free diet. The difference in my body has been amazing. You can read about my experience and find out what fertility diet principles I’m following on Naturally Getting Pregnant.
For more information on infertility and natural remedies visit http://www.naturallygettingpregnant.com.