The question of whether celiac disease impairs a woman’s fertility is discussed in a new study published in the journal Gastroenterology. Nutritional deficiencies (eg, zinc, iron, folate, selenium), lower levels of ghrelin and leptin, and a shortened reproductive period (delayed menarche, early menopause) have all been linked to potential fertility problems in women with celiac disease, but there is no conclusive evidence that these factors truly impact fertility. In this new study, researchers examined 2,426,225 women during their child-bearing years in the UK between 1990–2013. The rates of new clinically recorded fertility problems were ascertained for both women with and without celiac disease. Based on the study data, the authors concluded that the rates of infertility were similar among women with and without celiac disease (incidence rate ratio: 1.12). However, for women diagnosed when they were 25–29 years of age, the rate was 41% higher than for women without celiac disease in a similar age group (incidence rate ratio: 1.41). While celiac disease may be the underlying cause of fertility issues for some women, the study results show that for most women the diagnosis is unlikely to affect their fertility.
Studies have associated infertility with celiac disease.