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March 15th, 2010, 07:00 PM
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Why Haven't Infertile Couples Been Told These Facts?
================================================== ==============================
admin on 23/02/2010 13:31:00

Posted by: Dr. Mercola
February 23 2010

Millions of people have celiac disease, but most donít know they have it, in
part because symptoms can be so varied. It is an often overlooked digestive
disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten, a protein found
in wheat, barley and rye, is eaten.

Infertility seems to be more common in women with untreated celiac disease.
Other gynecological and obstetrical problems may also be more common, including
miscarriages and preterm births.

For men, problems can include abnormal sperm -- such as lower sperm numbers,
altered shape, and reduced function. Men with untreated celiac disease may also
have lower testosterone levels.

The good news is that with proper treatment with a gluten-free diet and
correction of nutritional deficiencies, the prognosis for future pregnancies is
much improved.

Sources:
New York Times February 3, 2010
Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Celiac disease -- which prevents your body from properly digesting gluten, a
protein found in wheat, rye, and barley Ė may be far more common than
previously thought. A decade ago, it was believed that celiac disease affected
just one in 10,000 Americans.

But a 2004 report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that as
many as one in every 133 Americans have it. That equates to roughly 2 million
people suffering from gluten intolerance in the US alone.

There are many millions more that suffer from sub-clinical gluten intolerance
Ė some estimate as many as 30 million Americans -- so there is a very real
possibility that you or someone you know is affected by this.

Unfortunately, celiac disease can manifest in so many ways, itís frequently
misdiagnosed and/or mistreated. One study showed it takes an average of 11 years
for patients to receive a correct diagnosis!

What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease, much like lupus and rheumatoid
arthritis. To get the disease, you must have both a genetic predisposition plus
an environmental factor that triggers the disease.

In this case, the environmental trigger is gluten.

If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an autoimmune response,
provoking your body to attack itself and destroy healthy tissues, especially the
villi in your small intestine. This can also have a detrimental effect on your
bodyís ability to absorb and process nutrients.

Some of the most common symptoms of this disease process include:
*Chronic diarrhea
*Gas
*Bloating
*Acid reflux
*Constipation

Even a small amount of gluten can trigger a response.

How Celiac Disease Can Affect Your Fertility
In the New York Times article above, Dr. Sheila Crowe, a professor in the
division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Virginia,
provides information about a slightly lesser known side effect of celiac
disease, namely infertility, which can affect both men and women with the
disease.

Studies from various countries indicate that fertility problems are indeed more
common in women with untreated celiac disease, compared to women who do not have
it.

The risk of suffering other gynecological and obstetrical problems like
miscarriage or preterm birth is also higher for those with celiac disease.

In addition, other common menstrual disorders that frequently affect women with
celiac disease include:
*Later onset of menstruation
*Earlier menopause
*Secondary amenorrhea
(a condition in which menses starts but then stops)

These menstrual abnormalities, along with other hormonal disruptions they
cause, can lead to fewer ovulations, which in turn results in a reduced chance
of pregnancy.

Men with the disease, especially if itís undiagnosed, can also face fertility
problems due to:
*Abnormal sperm
(reduced sperm count, altered shape, and reduced function)
*Reduced testosterone levels

How to Diagnose Celiac Disease
As Dr. Crowe recommends, it might be wise to get screened for celiac disease if
you suffer from repeated miscarriages or are unable to conceive for unknown
reasons Ė especially if you suffer any of the most common symptoms.

Just remember that symptoms can vary widely, and symptoms are easily confused
with those of other diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, iron-deficiency
anemia, or even chronic fatigue syndrome.

Fortunately, there are now more reliable blood tests that can screen for the
disease, so that youíre not left guessing and wondering.

People with celiac disease have higher than normal levels of certain
autoantibodies in their blood. So to diagnose celiac disease, your doctor will
need to test your blood for high levels of anti-tissue transglutaminase
antibodies (tTGA) or anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA).

Please keep in mind that you need to continue eating a diet containing gluten,
such as breads and pastas, in order to obtain an accurate test result! If you go
on a gluten-free diet prior to being tested, the results may come up negative
for celiac even though you might in fact have the disease.

If the test is positive for celiac disease, a biopsy of your small intestine
may be performed to confirm your diagnosis. The biopsy checks for damage to the
villi, which is a sign that celiac disease is damaging your intestines.

The Case for a Low- or No-Grain Diet Ė Whether You Have Celiac Disease or Not
The prevalence of celiac disease is yet more evidence that contemporary humans
simply arenít equipped to consume mass quantities of starch and sugar rich
foods many modern diets consists of.

Most people simply consume far too much bread, cereal, pasta, corn (a grain,
not a vegetable), rice, potatoes, snacks and junk foods, with grave consequences
to their health.

A diet high in grains causes insulin resistance which causes far more problems
than this dangerous autoimmune response. Itís also a leading factor of
obesity, which now affects a whopping two-thirds of all Americans.

Many of you are still focused on fat intake, but itís really not the fat in
the foods you eat but rather the excess carbohydrates from your processed food
diet that is making you overweight and unhealthy, and contributing to epidemic
levels of other diseases such as diabetes.

How to Treat Celiac Disease
In my experience, gluten intolerance can be treated quite easily by eliminating
gluten and most grains from your daily diet.

Itís important to realize that gluten can be hidden in many foods including
soups, soy sauce, candies, cold cuts, and various low- and no-fat products, so
check the labels before you eat it.

Also watch out for malt, starches, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP),
texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and natural flavoring.

Some pharmaceuticals, vinegars and alcohol can also contain gluten.
If you have celiac disease, itís imperative that you do not eat gluten in
order to avoid further damage to your health. But itís not only people with
gluten intolerance who would benefit from avoiding grains--in my estimation over
85 percent of the population would benefit from avoiding them, and this includes
even whole, organic grains.

Remember, if you stick to a diet consisting mainly of whole foods, preferably
locally-grown organics, youíll reap all the other beneficial side effects as
well, such as increased energy, an enhanced mood, and a lower risk of other
chronic illnesses.

Once you realize how good you can feel on a gluten-free diet, youíll probably
have no problem avoiding it and living a full, healthy life!

Additional Resources
For more in-depth information about celiac disease and going on a gluten-free
diet, here are three good sources:
*Website: Center for Celiac Disease Research: University of Maryland School of Medicine
*UK website for sufferers of coeliac disease: Coeliac UK
*A good US website: Celiac Disease & Gluten-free Diet Information Since 1995 - Celiac.com

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