Photo: CC/Mahalie
Celiac.com 08/16/2010 - There have been a number of studies connecting celiac disease with  impairments in women's reproductive health, including such disorders as infertility, delayed puberty, amenorrhea, and early menopause. Associations between celiac disease and oligomenorrhea, hypomenorrhea, metrorrhagia, and dysmenorrhea have also been observed.

In 2008, a case-controlled study in Italy was executed to determine the association between female reproductive health and celiac disease. The study evaluated 62 celiac women, and 186 healthy control patients between the ages of 15 and 49.

Of the celiac women evaluated, the average age when diagnosed with celiac disease was about 24 years old. Most of the women, 69.3% exhibited a bloated stomach, 61.3% exhibited anemia, 51.6% exhibited weight loss, 40.3%  exhibited diarrhea, and 17.7% exhibited vomiting as their main symptom during onset of celiac disease. 40.3% of the women evaluated claimed to have other symptoms at the time they were diagnosed for celiac disease, including menstrual cycle disorders.

Of the celiac women evaluated, 47.6% reported that they noticed the onset of their menstrual cycle disorders before they noticed any other classic celiac symptoms, 28.6% noticed the onset of the menstrual symptoms after the  other celiac related symptoms presented, and 19% noticed menstrual problems at the same time as other celiac symptoms.  19.4% of celiac women exhibited menstrual disorders.

Exactly 50% of the celiac women tested and 50% of the controls tested had been pregnant at least once prior to entering the study. Celiac women reported 63 total pregnancies and 49 of those were brought to full term. The control group reported 203 pregnancies with 179 brought to full term. While only 11.8% of the control groups pregnancies ended in miscarriages, 22.2% of the women with celiac disease had miscarriages.

Additionally, the average birth rate of the children born from the celiac mothers was lower than the birth rate of the control group babies.

This study confirmed the association between celiac disease and pregnancy disorders. However, there have not been enough studies yet to determine the exact correlation between celiac disease and female related reproductive issues.

It has been hypothesized that the connection  might be due to the fact that celiac disease can cause malabsorbtion and therefor malnutrition in some individuals, which could possibly play a role in ovarian dysfunction. Although from this study and others, the connection between celiac disease and reproductive disorders has been demonstrated to be significant enough that women exhibiting reproductive issues are recommended to undergo celiac screenings.

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