Can a Gluten-free Diet Increase Conception?
Celiac disease is a digestive disorder which is known to interfere with the body's ability to absorb nutrients from the foods we eat, and affects as many as 1 out of every 133 people. Many people can live most of their life without ever being aware they are gluten-intolerant, however they may have a wide array of health issues with no apparent cause. One health problem that has been linked to the consumption of gluten is infertility. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley, and many, many food products currently on the market contain gluten. When a person who has celiac disease--diagnosed or not-- consumes gluten, many symptoms can occur, however since a large amount of these symptoms can also be present in other diseases, the person may not realize the connection between gluten and their health problems.
Gluten-Free Diet and Fertility
The longer celiac disease is allowed to go undiagnosed-therefore untreated-the higher the risks of resulting infertility. Several clinical studies have shown that women with untreated celiac disease can have significant difficulties in getting pregnant, and untreated celiac disease has also been shown to create a hormonal imbalance in men which also affects the man's fertility.
Celiac Disease and Miscarriage
One study was conducted on thirteen women within the age group of 22-38 who had all suffered recurrent miscarriages over a period of 3-11 years, and were all found to be gluten intolerant. They were all placed on a gluten-free diet, and six of the women became pregnant within 1-4 years after beginning the gluten-free diet with all six having successful live births.
How Long Will it Take?
Once you have been definitively diagnosed with celiac disease, it is imperative that you switch to a gluten-free diet, and follow it conscientiously in order to improve your chances of pregnancy. The longer you have lived with an undiagnosed gluten allergy and the degree to which your intestines have been affected, will make a difference in how long it takes your system to get back on track, able to absorb nutrients as you should. For those whose celiac disease is relatively mild, it can take a few months to get back to good health, while for those who have suffered from undiagnosed celiac disease for years, it may take longer for your system to be able to absorb the necessary nutrients, therefore longer to get your fertility back on track. The good news is that as soon as you eliminate gluten from your diet, the healing process begins immediately, meaning you are potentially one closer to getting pregnant.
Finding the Hidden Gluten in Your Diet
While some forms of gluten in your diet can be obvious, many others are much less easy to spot. The gluten-free diet is not something you can only partly do-you pretty much have to give up gluten in its entirety, or not. The problem lies in finding the "hidden" sources of gluten in your life. The obvious sources of gluten are breads, crackers, cookies, cakes, pie crust, pizza crust, grains, cereal, spaghetti and macaroni. Foods you might not think of containing gluten can be prepared foods such as tv dinners, French fries, lunch meats, hot dogs, sausages, canned soups, broths, vegetables in sauces, baked beans, cocoa mix, some chocolate milk, nondairy creamer, some types of flavored yogurts, and certain alcoholic drinks such as beer, gin and whiskey. Should you decide to switch to a completely gluten-free diet, you will want to have a list of everything which contains gluten, then stick to it faithfully. While a gluten-free diet will not be an easy switch, you may be surprised at how much better you feel, plus may find yourself pregnant before you know it.