Unexplained Infertility

When a couple faces infertility they will often go to whatever lengths they must to find the cause of it. There is one condition that has been the cause of unexplained infertility in women and men and has, until recently, been undiagnosed. It is a hereditary digestive disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, is eaten. The disorder is called celiac disease.

The Undiagnosed Disease

Celiac disease affects people differently and, since not all of the symptoms are obvious, it has not been linked to infertility. Women with untreated celiac disease tend to have higher incidences of infertility than men do and gynecological issues are more common, such as miscarriages and preterm births. Other disorders women may suffer with as a result of celiac disease are menstrual disorders. They include a late onset of menstruation, earlier menopause, and secondary amenorrhea (the starting and then stopping of menses). The result of these irregularities can mean fewer ovulations, which translates into difficulties conceiving. Men with celiac disease can have abnormalities in their sperm, including a low sperm count, altered shape and malfunction of the sperm. It has been discovered that men with celiac disease can have lower levels of testosterone as well.

Symptoms That Mimic Other Diseases

There are some classic symptoms with celiac disease, however, many of them are also found in other gastrointestinal illnesses. Diarrhea, stomach pain, weight loss, bloating and gas are all common with the disorder. Fatigue, weakness, joint pain and migraine headaches - which are not normally associated with abdominal issues - are also consistent with celiac disease. When these symptoms are present, the diagnosis is usually anemia, stress, irritable bowel syndrome or chronic fatigue syndrome. Unless the disease is diagnosed properly and treated, it can result in poor absorption of calcium and vitamin D which results in osteoporosis as well as Type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease. Unfortunately, it can take more than a decade to get a correct diagnosis for celiac disease and the numbers continue to remain very high of those who have it and go undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

Help Is Now Available

Canada has recently made a home screening test available called The Biocard Celiac Test Kit which measures IgA antibodies from a fingertip blood sample. This test does provide a high level of certainty that the disease is present, however, it should be confirmed by a medical professional. A small bowel biopsy of the upper intestine will confirm the diagnosis.

Simple Cure Requires Discipline

The good news is that celiac disease is relatively easy to treat, and the treatment is very effective. Celiac disease is basically gluten intolerance and the best way to treat it is to eliminate gluten and most grains from the daily diet. Gluten is not confined to bread and grain, though. It can be hidden in any number of foods, including soy sauce, soups, candies, cold cuts, and a number of low-fat products. The best thing to do is check the labels and ask questions if the label doesn't give enough information. Malt, starches, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and natural flavoring along with vinegars, alcohol, and some pharmaceuticals can all contain gluten.