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Scientific study: increased prevalence of celiac disease in patients with unexplained infertility in the United States: a prospective study

May 2011 | 5 min read

Celiac disease is a disease of the abdomen that results from an abnormal immune response to gluten. Stomach symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, gas, and an inability to appropriately absorb food from the digestive tract. Other symptoms can include bone problems, diabetes or thyroid dysfunction. There also have been suggestions celiac disease can impair fertility in women. This study examined whether celiac disease is more common in women who are infertile. 

Key Points

  • Nearly 200 patients with fertility problems were screened for celiac disease, and the rate of occurrence was compared to that of a general population of women in the same age range.
  • Results suggested that overall, there was no increase in the occurrence of celiac disease between the women in the study and a general population; the rate of occurrence in this study was 2.1% compared to 1.3% in the general population.
  • In a sub-group of 51 women with unexplained infertility, the rate of celiac disease was found to be 5.9%. Based on this finding, the study authors concluded, “Our findings suggest the importance of screening infertile female patients, particularly those with unexplained infertility, for celiac disease.”

Key Takeaways

Celiac disease may be an important risk factor in women with unexplained infertility. Because it can be managed with gluten-free diets, broader screening may allow interventions to improve fertility issues. More research is needed to confirm this association and assess the effects of dietary intervention on fertility and pregnancy outcomes.


Choi JM, et al. Increased Prevalence of Celiac Disease in Patients with Unexplained Infertility in the United States: A Prospective Study. J Reprod Med, 2011; 56(5-6): 199–203