Eliminating Flour May Make Fertility Bloom

Infertility patients have a higher incidence of celiac disease

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Couples seeking infertility treatment often face very costly therapies including in vitro fertilization, surgery and medication. Could simple diet changes possibly make a difference?

According to a recent study from Columbia University, women with unknown reasons for infertility have increased rates of celiac disease.

"Celiac disease may be causing infertility."

Lead author Janet Choi, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at the Center for Women’s Reproductive Care at Columbia University reports that infertile women who are found to have celiac disease could easily benefit from a safe, gluten-free diet.

Peter Green, M.D., director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center, agrees that the inexpensive change to a gluten-free diet could enhance chances of conception. The doctor also informs that there is a growing body of evidence indicating that celiac disease is impactful on reproductive health.

This study included 191 female infertility patients. Of these patients, 51 had unknown causes for their infertility. All participants were screened for celiac disease in addition to regular infertility testing. Around two percent of the patients had lab work that indicated additional evaluation from a gastroenterologist was needed. After evaluation, all of these women were confirmed to have celiac disease.

These patients then received nutritional counseling and were placed on a gluten-free diet. Interestingly, all the patients conceived within a year after changing to a gluten-free diet.

The two percent rate of celiac disease found was a little higher than an expected rate of 1.3 percent, but the women with unexplained infertility that had celiac disease was almost six percent (3 out of 51), which is significantly higher than the expected rate.

These findings are published in the May-June 2011 issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

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Review Date: 
August 19, 2011
Last Updated:
August 22, 2011