Celiac Disease (CD) Infertility is Reversible

Posted By Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology || 27-Jul-2012

Complications in pregnancy like miscarriage, low birth weight, and premature births can be associated with undiagnosed Celiac Disease (CD), which can be difficult to diagnose, especially when there are no signature symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating or extensive weight loss. CD is a disease in which chronic failure to digest food is triggered by hypersensitivity of the small intestine to gluten.

So, what is it about gluten that causes infertility? As the disease quietly progresses, it ravages the small intestine, leading to prolonged nutrient mal-absorption. Over the long-term, when nutrients from foods consumed aren't absorbed by the body, a number of health issues can occur.

Many gluten intolerant women with infertility are afflicted with Anemia. Anemia can wreak havoc on a woman's reproductive system, leading to an erratic menstrual cycle, missed periods, and interrupted ovulation. All of these dramatically reduce the chances of conception.

In an earlier post we talked about the connection between gluten in the diet and "maturation" of dendritic cells, particularly, how the maturation of dendritic cells (the messenger cells of the immune system) needed to be avoided in order to allow the embryo to turn off the immune response of the mother, and allow for successful implantation. At our practice we are using some of the newer therapies such as Neupogen (G-CSF) to PREVENT maturation of the dendritic cells at the uterine lining. If dendritic cells are able to mature they will take information about the embryo to the lymph node and present it in such a way that the mother's immune system mounts a response against the embryo.

What is the latest on CD and gluten intolerance? Research is showing that women who have unexplained infertility because of CD, who change their diets to gluten free, can possibly reverse their symptoms.

If you suspect CD or gluten sensitivity you should be tested for it. At Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology we do test for CD. If you have it, we will recommend that you begin a gluten free diet several months before becoming pregnant.

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