Most women often wonder if their diet causes infertility issues. And while most foods are fine to consume, medical experts believe there may be a relationship between gluten and infertility issues.
Gluten is a common adversary for most people with health-related issues, from obesity and chronic illnesses to fertility concerns. For example, although studies are still inconclusive, there are cases of infertility in women with undiagnosed coeliac disease or intolerance to gluten.
Below are several reasons why gluten intolerance and undiagnosed coeliac disease may explain your infertility.
Understanding Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease is an immune disorder that damages the small intestines due to a gluten diet. In this case, a gluten diet comprises mainly barley, rye, and wheat production. If left untreated, coeliac disease hurts your health.
People with undiagnosed coeliac disease who consume a gluten-rich diet have a deficit of iron, zinc, selenium, and folic acid. In addition, gluten damages the gut lining, preventing your body from absorbing these crucial minerals.
The common reproductive changes that occur in women with undiagnosed coeliac disease who consume gluten are:
- Premature menopause
- Delayed menstruation for younger girls
- Lack of periods
- Pregnant women may have frequent miscarriages and premature births
Is there a Relation Between Infertility and Undiagnosed Coeliac Disease?
There is a possibility that undiagnosed coeliac disease can cause infertility. Medical research proves that the number of women with fertility issues and undiagnosed coeliac disease is high.
Additionally, women who suffer from frequent miscarriages are more likely to have coeliac disease. It happens because the antibodies produced to fight the disease affect the embryo negatively during early pregnancy. However, infertility issues, especially miscarriages, reduce significantly once diagnosed and treated.
Alternatively, some women remain undiagnosed and instead follow a gluten-free diet. As a result, their fertility increases in a few months, and they can conceive naturally. Case studies prove that following a gluten-free diet when you have coeliac disease can improve your fertility. However, additional methods, such as fertility treatments, are required to conceive in some cases.
Women with undiagnosed coeliac disease also tend to have shorter fertility windows as their periods start late. Their chances of reaching menopause early also explain their struggle with fertility and reproduction. Finally, the relation can also be due to their different hormone levels, which can cause most of them to be underweight.
No matter your current age, if you have concerns about getting pregnant, seek medical treatment. If you have coeliac disease and are concerned that it may be a reason for your infertility, consult a doctor. The medical research available may be inconclusive, but a diagnosis is recommended for healthier living.
Does Gluten Intolerance Affect Fertility?
Unlike coeliac disease, gluten intolerance is not an immune disorder. Instead, people with gluten intolerance are sensitive to food containing gluten. Such diets may cause stomach upsets and discomfort but will not damage the small intestines as coeliac disease does. They, therefore, do not experience any fertility issues.
The only treatment for someone with coeliac disease is a non-gluten diet. Although there may be a relation between gluten and infertility issues, a gluten-free diet will not bring back fertility. However, it may help prevent recurrent miscarriages or help you conceive as your fertile window is longer. If you are struggling with fertility issues, it’s essential to talk to your doctor.