Review: More Questions than Answers in Celiac Disease and Infertility Research

December 21, 2010

Review: More Questions than Answers in Celiac Disease and Infertility Research


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Studies show that celiac disease affects fertility and pregnancy outcomes, but the mechanisms remain unclear.

Researchers are still determining the role celiac disease plays in infertility and pregnancy issues, and a new review reinforces why such studies are needed.

Published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, “Reproductive changes associated with celiac disease” looked at research dating back more than 30 years. Researchers focused on alterations in female fertility, male fertility and pregnancy related to celiac disease.

Among the interesting observations, researchers noted:

  • Celiac disease may play a role in placental function, but more research is needed to determine any immune-mediated effects
  • Few studies have been done on the nutritional needs of women with celiac disease during pregnancy. More research could help identify nutritional changes that occur in pregnant women with untreated celiac.
  • Research related to male infertility and celiac disease has been non-existent in recent decades, but two recent studies indicate that celiac disease appears to affect sexual behavior in men.
  • Several studies have found that celiac disease is often found among women with pregnancy issues, including repeated miscarriages and low birth weight. While screening is “useful,” according to the researchers, more studies are needed to determine the cost-effectiveness of widespread screening among women of reproductive age.

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