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    Claire Atkin

    Pain in Women During Sex Could be Caused by Untreated Celiac Disease

    Claire Atkin
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.   eNewsletter: Get our eNewsletter

    Celiac.com 05/28/2009 - Dr. MariaPorpora and her fellow researchers in Italy studied a woman backin 2003 who had chronic abdominal and pelvic pain, deep dyspareunia(pain while having sex), and dysmenorrhea (menstruation pain similar tocramps). When she came in to Dr. Porpora’s clinic, she also haddiarrheaand had lost five kilograms in the last six months.

    Her painwas so bad that she completely avoided having sex. She measured the severity ofher pain on a one to ten scale, with one being low and ten being high:

    • Dysmenorrhea: 10
    • Chronic pelvic pain: 7
    • Dysapareunia: 10



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    Shealso had a “normal cervix, a mobile, anteveted mildly enlarge uteruscaused by myomata (benign tumors), and the absence of adnexal masses(lumps in tissue near the uterus, usually in the ovary or fallopiantube).”

    The doctors werejustifiably confused, and even performed surgery tohelp relieve the pain, however, after six months her symptoms returned. She wasonly partially responsive to their “analgesic, antispasmodic, andantidepressant” drugs. She had no obvious gynecologic disorder.

    During subsequent examinations the doctors discovered an issue related to malabsorption, and the patient was tested forgluten antibodies. The results were positive, and the woman was put on a gluten-free diet. After one year on a gluten freediet the woman’s pain disappeared, along with her other symptoms offatigue, depression, and general intestinal issues.

    Accordingto this article, 40% of cases of pelvic pain in women have no known cause, even if they have been diagnosed with irritable bowelsyndrome or inflammatory bowel diseases. According to the doctors: “Celiac disease should betaken into consideration when a patient presents with unexplainedpelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, or deep dyspareunia if these symptoms areassociated with bowel disorders, even in the absence of a knownintestinal disease.”

    Reference: Obstetrics and gynecology 2002;99(5 Pt 2):937-9.


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    I have had pain with sex and other abdominal pain. I was just diagnosed with celiac disease today but I never even mentioned the pain with sex as I figured that came with menopause.

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    I hope you have relief going gluten free Joani!

     

    I wonder if interstitial cystitis, which can also cause this kind of pain and is an autoimmune disease, is also linked to gluten issues.

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    A very, very interesting article. As I am undergoing tests for coeliac and have a few problems with pain after sex it feels like my pelvis is inflamed. I will have to wait for the diagnosis but thank you.

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    There's a new treatment for dyspareunia to cause stem cells to generate new healthy tissue. The procedure is called o-shot which has been very effective with my patient. Hope this helps.

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  • About Me

    Claire is studying the attitudes of older adults diagnosed with celiac disease toward physical activity at the University of Victoria. She has been diagnosed with celiac disease since she was 20 years old, and writes an academic-oriented gluten-free blog at gfc.tumblr.com, where she posts academic article summaries, corporate correspondence, and a few extras on the side.


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