A study conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Center for Women’s Reproductive Care reveals that celiac disease may be behind unexplained infertility in some women, and that a gluten-free diet can help.
Authors of the study examined 188 women and found that 2.1 percent had undiagnosed celiac disease. A total of four volunteers were found to have the condition, as well as trouble conceiving.
Following a dietary intervention and counseling to help them switch to a diet free of gluten, all four of the participants conceived within one year of their diagnosis.
“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,” says lead author Janet Choi, M.D.
The researchers noted that the prevalence of celiac disease was more than double among women with unexplained infertility. About 6 percent of that population has problems getting pregnant.
The National Institutes of Health reports that about 2 million Americans have celiac disease.
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