Br J Haematol 2000;111:898-901.

Celiac.com 02/15/2001 - As reported in the December issue of the British Journal of Haematology, Dr. D. J. Unsworth of Southmead Hospital in Bristol, UK, and colleagues examined 483 blood samples that were found to be anemic (hemoglobin <11 g/dL for women, <13.5 g/dL for men). Of this group, 28 women (26 premenopausal) and 4 men tested positive for IgA anti-endomysial antibodies, and were further tested for celiac disease. 25 from this group underwent endoscopic small intestinal biopsies, and 22 of them had histological changes compatible with celiac disease. Of the group of 22, twenty-one were women, and none of them had been previously tested for the possibility of celiac disease.

Results: The researchers found that by screening anemic adults for celiac disease they ended up with a detection rate of 6%, compared with 0% detection of celiac disease using EDTA blood samples from 250 non-anemic blood donors.

Conclusion: Celiac disease in menstruating women is under-investigated as a potential cause of iron-deficiency anemia. Celiac disease serology is easy, cheap and reliable, and the researchers recommend that all cases of anemia with an uncertain cause, including when the only cause is though to be menstruation, be tested for celiac disease-associated autoantibodies.

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