Celiac Disease and Women’s Health
Celiac Disease and Women’s Health: A Guide to Understanding
Celiac disease is commonly associated with gastrointestinal issues, but it can also impact the reproductive system, resulting in complications like infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths and other negative pregnancy outcomes.
The obstetric and gynecologic community can help improve the celiac disease diagnosis rate, helping women achieve better health for themselves, as well as their future children.
Beyond Celiac encourages women’s health practitioners to educate themselves and their patients about celiac disease and proper treatment through the gluten-free diet.
Celiac Disease Symptoms in Women
While symptoms typical of the disease include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and recurrent abdominal pain, celiac disease symptoms in women may also include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Early menopause
- Caesarean delivery
- Unexplained infertility
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Menstrual irregularities
- Absence of menstruation
- Osteoporosis and osteopenia
Celiac Disease Prevalence in Women
Celiac disease affects 3 million Americans and is one of the most common occurring, lifelong, genetically determined diseases.
Like other autoimmune diseases, celiac disease is often diagnosed more often in women than men. In fact, women in the general population are diagnosed with celiac disease two to three times more often than men. Current research indicates that 60% to 70% of those diagnosed with celiac disease are women.
Testing & Diagnosis in Women
A 2018 study, published in the journal, Human Reproduction, shows how critical it is for physicians to consider undiagnosed celiac disease when a woman has reproductive problems.
If you have struggled with fertility difficulties, ask your doctor 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
- 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.
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. Going gluten-free before getting tested can potentially give you incorrect results.
Read more about testing and diagnosis of celiac disease in women. To learn more about celiac disease testing in general, visit www.BeyondCeliac.org/GetTested