Celiac disease may cause infertility according to recent studies.
LetsGetChecked is joined by Christina Kantzavelos , who lives with celiac disease and shares her experience of taking a Female Hormone Test.
Does Celiac Disease Affect Fertility?
Celiac disease has been associated with several potential outcomes associated with pregnancy including miscarriage, fetal diseases, molar and ectopic pregnancies and an increased risk of stillbirth.
Celiac disease may cause infertility according to a Danish study which reports that women with undiagnosed celiac disease have a 62% chance of experiencing a still birth in comparison to women who do not have celiac disease.
Numerous reports over the last three decades have connected undiagnosed celiac disease as the root cause of reproductive issues. Despite conflicting views, a most recent Danish study published in Human Reproduction illustrates that celiac disease plays a significant role in the reproductive system as well as the digestive one.
In the nationwide Danish study, 6319 women who were diagnosed with celiac disease were compared to 63166 women who did not experience the condition.
In the study, reproductive events in women aged 15-50 were monitored over a 39 year period dating 1977 to 2016.
It was found that:
The chance of pregnancy, live birth and the risk of stillbirth, molar and ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and abortion due to foetal disease was the same in both sample groups, however this does not apply to those with undiagnosed celiac disease.
Prior to being diagnosed, women who suffer from celiac disease are 12% more likely to suffer a miscarriage than those who did not experience celiac disease.
Women who have undiagnosed celiac disease are 62% more likely to experience a stillbirth
Women who have undiagnosed celiac disease experience 20-31 less pregnancies per 1,000 pregnancies compared to those who do not experience celiac disease.
Our Case Study: Celiac Disease & The Female Hormone Test
This week, LetsGetChecked is joined by Christina Kantzavelos to discuss her experience of taking the Female Hormone Test, having learned that celiac disease and infertility are linked.
Christina Kantzavelos is the founder of Buen Qamino.
LetsGetChecked can reveal that 62% of female consumers are simply curious about their fertility status when they choose to take a female fertility test. Christina is part of this sample group and states:
“I was simply curious. Female hormones play a big part in our overall health, and mine had never been tested before.”
Before taking the female hormone test, did you know that there is a connection between infertility and undiagnosed celiac disease?
I had no idea, but I'm also not surprised, as nutrigenomics has taught me that food and certain nutrition can affect our gene output.
Before your diagnosis of celiac disease, how did you find your hormonal health? Was it something were aware of? Did you experience any irregularities?
Like many women my age in the US, I've been on birth control for the majority of my adult life. Prior to being on birth control, I used to have ovarian cysts and frequent and heavy menstruations, which I believe birth control (progestin) has helped with. It's difficult to know what my hormones look like at baseline, at this point in my life, without birth control.
After your diagnosis of celiac disease, did you make any changes to your hormonal health?
I simply changed my diet, which has evolved into being very clean, nearly-paleo, and low-histamine. Knowing what I know about nutrigenomics, and based on my current health, I believe this has positively impacted my overall health, including hormonal health.
Did following a gluten-free diet improve your hormonal health? (Prevent negative symptoms associated with your period.)
It is difficult to know because I began my gluten-free diet after my IUD Mirena insertion, but I am sure it only benefited.
Do you think there is a connection between hormonal health and celiac disease?
I definitely think so. There is research surrounding celiac disease and its impact on the endocrine system and adrenals, which are in charge of producing hormones.
When your body is stressed, because you are damaging it with gluten, you will produce stress hormones, as opposed to the helpful hormones you need.
What steps do you take to improve symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle?
A clean diet is important. Everyone is different, but if you have celiac disease or a wheat allergy, then you should make every effort to avoid gluten, even if you do not suffer from any physical symptoms. You may also want to find out if you are having any other poor reactions to food (i.e. lactose, casein, soy, corn, high-histamines, etc.), which could also be impacting your health. It's important to not damage your body any more than you already have.
What are your favorite gluten-free recipes? Do you have one you would like to share?
I use Sun Basket, which delivers a box of organic ingredients and recipes for gluten-free/paleo meals to me weekly. These meals are delicious and have made my life a lot easier. Otherwise, I enjoy finding recipes via Instagram, Pinterest, and Google that cater to my gluten, dairy, soy-free, and low-histamine diet.
What are your personal tips and tricks for staying healthy?
"Listen to your body!"
My body will tell me whether or not it feels right after eating something or completing a certain activity. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but I know my body likes when I eat clean, meditate regularly, sleep for at least 8-10 hours a night, as well as when I walk after meals and spend time in nature.
What do you think are the building blocks for nutritional health when following a gluten-free diet?
It took me a while to realize this, but just because something is packaged 'gluten-free' DOES NOT mean it's necessarily healthy. Sure, it's 'healthier' than eating something gluten-filled, but a lot of the gluten-free products out there are processed and are high in chemicals, and in sugars. Many of us with celiac disease have already done damage to our bodies, and we should try to reverse it, rather than potentially cause further damage.
What do you think of the LetsGetChecked service? How did you find taking the test?
I thought it was a bloody (pun) easy test, and turned me into a believer and doer of the at-home health tests. If you don't mind seeing blood, then this puts dealing with making an appointment to see a doctor, going to the lab, and or dealing with insurance to shame. The process and turnaround were quick, and I loved that a medical professional called me with the results.
Do you have celiac disease? Have you ever wondered how celiac disease may affect your fertility? Today it's possible to test your hormones from home.
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Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director, Dr. Dominic Rowley