Im about to get real science-y so buckle up!
Apparently, roughly 1 in 17 women are experiencing infertility due to Celiac Disease. Yep, that’s the “fad” diet where you don’t eat bread, pasta, or anything else with gluten. Only it’s not a fad, it’s a VERY real thing.
While there are numerous reasons for fertility problems, one that is almost always overlooked by conventional fertility specialists, and that is easy to take into your own hands, is gluten intolerance.A recent study found that undiagnosed celiac disease may be the reason for “all cause” infertility in 3.5% of women, and unexplained infertility in 5.9% of women. It is possible that the rates are quite a bit higher, because celiac is so often under-diagnosed. Another study found that women undergoing fertility treatments had an increased success when they removed gluten from their diets.
In 1986 when my mom was struggling to get pregnant, she was 90 pounds and doctors told her she needed to eat fatty foods in order to gain weight. They prescribed her mac and cheese, grilled cheese and pancakes. This only made it worse. She eventually got pregnant with me, with the assistance of a fertility drug Clomid. I was full term (plus a few days) and born weighing 4lbs 12oz (severely malnourished).
My mom was finally diagnosed with Celiac disease in December of 1988. I was 4 months old and she had reached a low of 78lbs. After months of doctors telling her that she was anorexic and being sent to shrinks, she finally had an answer. (PS Celiac can be somewhat dormant until you have kids, then it comes out full force – it also shows in different forms from skin rash to digestion to headaches, etc.).
Celiac disease is genetic, though I’ve never been tested for it. We had our follow up with the fertility doctor at Brown today and Sam brought it up to him as a possibility. Celiac has a bunch of symptoms, but some people don’t show any. Weight loss or weight gain are the main factors. However, Celiac can also cause problems with fertility. There’s a good chance I have CD, so we’ve been doing a bunch of research about how the two are linked. There are significantly more studies from the UK than the US. The new fertility Dr at CRM basically told me I needed to stay Gluten-Free for 90 days and take a bunch of supplements. Celiac can cause Iron, Zinc, and selenium deficiencies, so we went ahead and ordered all of those to take before trying IUI again.
There’s also several foods that can be considered “cross-reactive“, meaning they can affect you as well. These are dairy, milk chocolate, instant coffee, oats, corn, millet, rice, and yeast_. So if you’re avoiding gluten, I’d avoid all of those as well. This post isn’t sponsored at all and once again, I’m not a doctor. I’ve posted the articles I’ve cited below including medical journals mostly from the UK since they’ve been doing much more research on the topic of how celiac relates to infertility. I would highly recommend reading through the articles and doing your own research as well.
Sam and I have done three Whole30 ‘s before and will be starting it again tomorrow. To read about Whole30, click HERE. It’s meant to be a lifestyle change but the first 30 days are no alcohol, sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, legumes, and a few others. Just read about it and decide for yourself. It’s HARD to stick to, but it’s only 30 days.
Testimonials from thousands of Whole30 participants document the improvement of any number of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions.
high blood pressure • high cholesterol • type 1 diabetes • type 2 diabetes • asthma • allergies • sinus infections • hives • skin conditions • endometriosis • PCOS • infertility • migraines • depression • bipolar disorder • heartburn • GERD • arthritis • joint pain • ADD • thyroid dysfunction • Lyme disease • fibromyalgia • chronic fatigue • lupus • leaky gut syndrome • Crohn’s • IBS • Celiac disease • diverticulitis • ulcerative colitis
-From the Whole30 website
If you’re struggling with infertility and think it may be Celiac related I’d LOVE to hear your stories.
Links to Articles:
Links to Peer Reviewed Academic Journals:
Follow up appointment: $65 (co-pay)
Total baby-making cost to date: $5298.71