Can A Gluten Sensitivity Affect Fertility?
For millions of women, getting pregnant can be a difficult challenge. Many factors impact pregnancy, and today, doctors are seeing the importance of diet, specifically gluten. Gluten sensitivity has risen sharply, and this condition can even impact fertility in women. Furthermore, there is evidence that fertility treatments can be ineffective for women with gluten sensitivities, known as celiac disease.
What is gluten sensitivity?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. In the past, gluten was limited to bread and pastries. Today, gluten is in hundreds of everyday foods. When some people consume gluten, the body has an immune reaction. This allergy affects the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body, particularly the small intestine. The nutrition deficiency can lead to a host of gastrointestinal issues. If left untreated, a host of other complications can happen, including fertility issues. Potential mothers can alleviate symptoms with gluten-free dietary changes. Despite these challenges, there is one common question. Can fertility treatments increase the chances of pregnancy for people with gluten sensitivity?
The impact of gluten and pregnancy
Fertility treatments generally increase a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. However, celiac disease causes the immune system to attack the stomach lining when eating gluten-enriched foods. Around 1%-2% of the general population are impacted by gluten sensitivity due to environmental factors, and this number is steadily increasing. However, most patients do not experience signs for many years. Women of reproductive age can suffer from delayed puberty, amenorrhea, and early menopause, leading to infertility. If pregnancy occurs, chances of congenital disabilities and miscarriage increase.
Your body needs these essential vitamins
For a healthy reproductive system, women need vitamin D and calcium. And during pregnancy, a fetus gets all nutrients from the mother. A gluten sensitivity makes it harder for the body to absorb vitamins and minerals. Iron, selenium, folic acid, zinc, and B vitamins are essential during pregnancy. Unfortunately, some women only become aware about celiac disease while pregnant, increasing the baby’s health risks. A study found that 85% of women who miscarried had done so before being diagnosed with this allergy.
Fertility treatments that go against the grain
Celiac disease screening should be an essential part of fertility testing for women. This is especially true for women with a history of unexplained infertility, pre-term birth, and miscarriages. Gluten sensitivity can directly affect egg count and ovulation, which must be best for conception. There is no cure for this allergy, but the condition is manageable by reducing gluten from the diet. A combination of diet and supplements is then used to increase nutrient intake. Experts are still unclear why untreated celiac disease leads to infertility. Malnutrition is the most common theory. With proper measures, IVF can be effective.
Can fertility treatments help?
Once the body is replenished, other fertility issues, if any, can be addressed individually. Most doctors diagnose infertility after a year of unprotected sex is unsuccessful. Fertility treatments will not help someone with celiac disease get pregnant any more than a woman with another fertility issue. The key to increasing fertility is to be aware of the diagnosis and remove gluten from the diet before conceiving. If gluten allergy symptoms are chronic, speaking to a doctor before undergoing any fertility treatment is recommended.
A bun in the oven?
Fertility treatments alone can’t increase the chances of pregnancy with gluten sensitivity. Gluten intolerance can also prevent the absorption of micronutrients in the body if left undiagnosed or unmanaged. This allergy reduces the effectiveness of any fertility treatment. Patients also run the risk of natural disabilities and even miscarriage. If suspecting or displaying symptoms of gluten sensitivity, speak to a doctor before undergoing any fertility treatment.