Celiac disease and infertility: Is there a link?

Celiac disease and infertility: Is there a link?

Celiac disease is getting a lot of attention these days, as the gluten-free food trend grows.

There’s still much to be understood about the disease and its effects, and sometimes it seems as if there are more questions out there than answers.

Here’s a question women with celiac disease have wrestled with for years: Does celiac disease cause fertility problems? Some people say yes, while others say no. Scientific studies show conflicting answers.

The authors of a new study published in the journal Gastroenterology say their research points to no association between the two health problems in women.

Rather than studying female fertility patients to look for trends in celiac diagnoses, as past studies have done, these researchers from the United Kingdom took a broader approach. They examined data from general population health records, looking at de-identified data for 2.4 million women of childbearing age. The records covered a 20-year time period.

Here’s what they found in the files: Overall, women with a diagnosis of celiac disease had about the same rate of fertility problems as did women without the condition.

There was a very small increase in the diagnosis of fertility problems among women ages 25 to 29 who had celiac disease over those without it. The researchers say the increase in risk amounts to a half-a-percent greater chance of diagnosis with fertility problems during this four-year period.

That’s a curious statistic, but certainly not sound evidence that celiac disease causes women to have trouble conceiving a child.

There could be other factors scientists have yet to pinpoint that may explain what caused slightly more fertility troubles in the women with celiac disease.

Hopefully, studies like these and others will continue to shed light on celiac disease.

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