Does Gluten Cause Infertility & Early Menopause?
Infertility is a Known Association with Gluten
It’s been well established in research that women with untreated celiac disease and gluten intolerance suffer a higher rate of miscarriages. They also suffer from more hormonal related problems including depression, anxiety, and infertility.
A recent study looked at a different facet of women, specifically the life span of their fertile years and symptoms of menopause. Does a woman without gluten intolerance have a longer fertile lifespan than a woman with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity? Do we know that they have less successful outcomes of pregnancy, but are their fertile years limited? What about menopausal symptoms? Are they better or worse with untreated celiac disease?
The journal Menopause, published their findings last October 2011. Three groups of women participated in this study:
- A group of 33 women diagnosed with celiac disease who were post-menopausal – this was the untreated group
- A group of 25 women diagnosed with celiac disease who had been following a gluten-free diet for a minimum of 10 years before menopause – this was the treated group
- A group of 45 women who were healthy volunteers – this was the control group.
A questionnaire was used to gather data from each group and the findings were as follows:
Untreated Celiac Disease Creates a Shorter Fertile Lifespan
The untreated celiac women were found, not surprisingly, to have a shorter fertile lifespan. Women with celiac disease who were never diagnosed began the onset of their periods later and entered menopause sooner than those without the disease.
Menopause Symptoms are Worse Too
Regarding symptoms associated with menopause, those too were worsened when the woman was an undiagnosed celiac. The study shows that symptoms such as hot flashes, irritability, and muscle and joint problems were significantly worse as compared to the control women who did not suffer from the disease.
The good news was the women who were diagnosed earlier in life and who had maintained a strict gluten-free diet for at least 10 years prior to menopause, showed a longer fertile life span than their untreated counterparts.
The Problems Reversed on a Gluten-free Diet
These findings very much align with earlier studies that looked at other diseases caused by celiac disease. Individuals with liver disease show a reversion of liver damage on a gluten-free diet.
Depression too reverts nicely within a year of instituting a no gluten diet Skin conditions, seizures, a tendency toward miscarriage and so much more respond favorably when the correct stressor, gluten, is removed from the body’s diet. Now we can add menopause symptoms and the lifespan of fertility to the list.
This data is very significant for those women having difficulty trying to conceive. If gluten intolerance is a contributing factor to their infertility, diagnosing it in a timely fashion will not only increase their fertility but it will increase the span of time they are able to conceive – precious time for those trying to start a family.
Find Out if Gluten is Decreasing Your Life Expectancy
Even if the fertile years have elapsed and a woman is already in menopause, diagnosing gluten intolerance will still improve that woman’s health in immeasurable ways.
Remember that undiagnosed celiac disease and gluten intolerance increases your risk of dying of all causes, something that can be decreased radically with implementing a gluten-free diet. [Digestve Diseases. 1994 May-Jun;12(3):186-90. “Infertility, obstetric & gynecological problems in celiac disease”] I hope you found this helpful.
Do you know anyone who suffers from miscarriage, infertility, or difficult menopause? Please share this information with them (both men and women – gluten is known to cause infertility in men as well). We are here to help.
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Dr. Vikki Petersen DC. CCN
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
Dr Vikki Petersen is a public speaker, author of two books, several eBooks and creates cutting edge content for her YouTube community. Dr Vikki is committed to bringing Root Cause Medicine and its unique approach to restoring health naturally to the world.