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Can Gluten Lead to Infertility?


Infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. While some couples get diagnosed with infertility causes, such as male factor (sperm problems), female factor (ovulation issues or problem with implantation of embryo in the uterus) or combination of both, some may be left with unexplained infertility.

It’s difficult to diagnose infertility based on diet, but women with gluten sensitivity who constantly consume gluten can put herself in a chronic inflammatory state. Chronic inflammation in the digestive tract can interfere with food absorption, hence reducing the amount of essential nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. Also, the situation counteracts the receptive state needed by the uterus for pregnancy to occur.

Gluten is a protein commonly found in grains. But a lot of people have gluten sensitivity, which means the body produces an immune response to gluten, causing inflammation.

If you have been confused with the diagnosis of unexplained fertility, it may be a good idea to look into your diet. Research has shown that gluten intolerance may cause infertility.



Celiac Disease


Undiagnosed celiac disease (a condition in which small intestines are damaged by gluten) may be a part of unexplained symptoms and diseases, including fertility. Experts say that female reproductive issues such as delayed menarche, secondary amenorrhea, spontaneous miscarriages, and others have been linked to celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

For people with celiac disease, gluten ingestion causes intestine damage, which prevents nutrients from being absorbed. This causes starvation, which leads to fertility issues because a malnourished body is not capable of carrying a foetus. A malnourished pregnant woman has a higher chance of miscarriage even if she conceives.



PCOS, Gluten, and Insulin Resistance


Diet and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are a subject of ongoing research. The majority of PCOS diet research has thus far been on low carb and low glycemic index diets.

Many gluten-containing goods are rich in carbohydrate or have a high glycemic index, hence these diets are frequently low in gluten. However, they are not fully gluten-free. There has been no research that has looked into the possibility of a link between PCOS and gluten. 



Gluten and Endometriosis


Endometriosis is a  common condition that can cause infertility and pelvic pain. Gluten's influence on pregnancy success in women diagnosed with endometriosis has not been studied in detail. Endometrial discomfort and gluten have been studied, including a case study of a lady with endometriosis and undiagnosed celiac disease. So far, it is unclear if a gluten-free diet can improve pregnancy success in women with endometriosis.

Other studies regarding gluten sensitivity also found that:

  • Gluten is speculated to lead to sperm count and motility reduction in men
  • A gluten-free diet during pregnancy can alleviate signs of type 1 diabetes



Should I go gluten-free?


Unless you are diagnosed with celiac disease, there is no definitive study to show that you should opt for a gluten-free diet.

As always, please talk to your attending doctor first. If the doctor approves, give it a trial period and monitor your results. As long as you meet your nutritional requirements while going gluten-free, you can still be healthy.


If you need other experts’ opinions on whether or not to go for a gluten-free diet while you are TTC, do consider fertility coaches. They are trained to look at you as a whole; mentally, physically and spiritually to ensure excellent well-being in your journey to conceive. Book a session at LUMIROUS now.



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