By Dr. Timothy Jones
There are many reasons why people find themselves unable to conceive. Subsequently, many couples have to seek out options of either adoption, IVF, or surrogacy. For some, it is impossible to conceive a baby naturally and they’re labeled infertile; this includes same-sex couples (here is a guide to same sex surrogacy for those looking to have children) or those with complications. However, there are some who believe they’re infertile but just struggle to conceive. If you’ve been trying to have a baby, celiac disease and fertility problems may be standing in your way. It may be hard to believe but celiac disease, which causes an allergy to gluten, can actually lead to fertility problems in both men and women, according to Dr. Timothy Jones of Path of Life Functional Medicine in Avila Beach.
The exact reasons aren’t totally clear, but scientists do have some ideas about why fertility and celiac are related. One of the most obvious problems is that celiac disease leads to malnutrition. Celiac disease causes your small intestine to be unable to absorb the nutrients you eat.
If your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs to function properly, it can affect your hormone levels and your ability to produce and carry a child. This is true for both men and women because it can interfere with either system.
Often, women who have celiac disease have particular problems with their menstrual cycles. If you have celiac disease you may have abnormal periods – they may be absent for long periods of time or you may have problems with frequent bleeding.
Problems with your period indicate that you might not be ovulating regularly and that will interfere with your ability to conceive. If you’re not ovulating, there’s no chance you’ll be able to get pregnant.
In addition, women with celiac disease have a higher risk of having complications in their pregnancy. Those complications include threatened miscarriage (bleeding during pregnancy), actual miscarriage, and high blood pressure.
Pregnant women suffering from celiac also may have problems with anemia. These conditions can make it difficult to carry a pregnancy to term and can cause problems during labor and delivery that threaten both mother and child.
If you have celiac disease, it’s important to let your healthcare provider know when you’re trying to conceive. The good news is that by following a gluten-free diet you can actually reverse the inflammation caused by gluten and you can get your body in a healthy state.
You’ll have the best chances of having successful conception and a healthy pregnancy when you begin with a healthy body. That means that it’s best to have your celiac disease under control before attempting to get pregnant.
The best way to control celiac is through diet. You’ll need to eliminate gluten from the foods you eat. This can be difficult initially, but the improvement in your health condition is worth the effort.
It’s always best to work with your healthcare provider to make sure you receive the proper medical treatment along with your diet. In severe cases of celiac, medical intervention is required. Celiac disease and fertility problems can go hand-in-hand, but you can work to improve your chances of pregnancy.
For more information on this topic or the benefits of functional medicine, call Dr. Jones at (805) 738-3595.
This article originally appeared on the Path of Life Functional Medicine website. See the original post HERE.