Celiac Disease and Men's Health

Celiac disease is commonly associated with gastrointestinal issues, but it can also impact other parts of the body including the bones and reproductive system.

According to World Health Data Statistics 2019, there’s a “health gap” between men and women, especially in high-income countries. The data shows that men tend to use health services less than women. Beyond Celiac implores men (and women) to seek professional medical services if they believe they may have celiac disease. We also encourage health practitioners to educate themselves and their patients about celiac disease and proper treatment through the gluten-free diet.

Celiac Disease Prevalence in Men

Celiac disease affects 3 million Americans and is one of the most common occurring, lifelong, genetically determined diseases.

Like other autoimmune diseases, celiac disease occurs in more women than men. The disease is currently diagnosed more frequently in women as well, somewhere between two and three times more often. However a recent comprehensive review of celiac disease by celiac disease experts from Italy and the United States found that when looking at serology of undiagnosed populations, it appears that men have celiac disease at much higher rates than previously believed. The actual female to-male ratio [of celiac disease] is 1.5 to 1, the review found.


Celiac Disease Symptoms in Men

While celiac disease symptoms typical of the disease include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and recurrent abdominal pain, celiac disease symptoms in men may also include:

Men with type 2 refractory celiac disease also appear to experience intestinal lymphoma more often than women. 


 

Think you may have celiac disease? Complete our Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist and share the results with your doctor.

 


Celiac Disease, Infertility and Men

Men with celiac disease may have gonadal dysfunction, which could complicate fertility issues. Semen issues (such as sperm morphology, number and mobility issues) found in men with celiac disease improved after following a gluten-free diet. Unfortunately, few recent studies have been conducted on celiac disease and male infertility.


Testing & Diagnosis of Celiac Disease in Men

Celiac disease tends to be underdiagnosed in men. Men with symptoms of celiac disease, especially osteoporosis, are encouraged to be tested for celiac disease.

It is well-known that it is best to catch celiac disease as early as possible since the diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve a person’s overall well-being.

Blood tests are the first step in a diagnosis of celiac disease. Your doctor should order one or more of a series of blood tests to measure the body’s response to gluten.

Currently, recommended tests include:

  • Total IgA
  • IgA-tTG
  • IgA-EMA
  • If IgA is deficient, it is recommended that the IgG/IgA-DGP also be ordered. At the discretion of the doctor, IgG-AGA can also be ordered.

There is also a home-based blood test currently available from imaware™. Imaware utilizes whole blood for their home-based tests which ensures higher precision than any other home-based health testing method. They test for a total of 4 biomarkers, including tTG, in order to provide you the most comprehensive home-based celiac disease.

An Important Note about Celiac Disease Testing

It is of the utmost importance that you do not go on a gluten-free diet before getting tested. This can impact the testing results and you may receive an inaccurate test result.

To learn more about celiac disease testing, visit www.BeyondCeliac.org/GetTested.

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