Posted By Dr. Braverman || 21-Nov-2012

At Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology we take celiac disease and gluten sensitivity very seriously in our treatment of recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. A majority of the patients that we treat have gluten sensitivity and not celiac disease. We recommend a gluten-free diet for treating both.

Gluten sensitivity causes inflammation in the body. It is detected by the use of IGG antibodies. It is the long term effects of gluten on the inflammatory portion of the immune system that affects the implantation of the embryo and causes fertility problems. So, this holiday season if you are on a gluten-free diet because of "gluten sensitivity" you can still eat and "be merry!' For those who have celiac disease you should continue to follow your gluten-free diet. For those with gluten sensitivity it is alright to have a little gluten on Thanksgiving Day, but with so many wonderful holiday recipes out there it is worth trying to stick with your diet.

Until recently, the terms gluten sensitivity and celiac disease were used interchangeably in medical literature. However, emerging research indicates that gluten sensitivity has a broader scope than celiac disease. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include bloating, abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea, or it may present with a variety of extra-intestinal symptoms including headaches and migraines, lethargy and tiredness, attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity, muscular disturbances as well as bone and joint pain.

Remember that celiac disease is a digestive disorder that hinders the body from absorbing nutrients from food. Individuals who have celiac disease are unable to tolerate gluten - a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and other foods. If you have celiac disease and eat gluten, your body may react by damaging or destroy the villi in your small intestine. Simply put, villi allow your body to absorb nutrients. Without it, you would become malnourished. Thus, celiac disease involves mal-absorption of nutrients and abnormal immune reactions to foods that contain gluten.

If celiac disease isn't treated properly, long-term complications may develop. If you have celiac disease, you may be at a greater risk of developing type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, autoimmune liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis or Addison's disease. Celiac disease may be diagnosed through blood tests, and intestinal biopsy or other forms of screening. It is part of our screening here at Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology.

Once diagnosed, there are a variety of treatment options for both. Most commonly, they are treated by a gluten-free diet. Those with celiac disease have to stay on the diet. The diet is a little less restrictive for those with wheat sensitivity. If you can, we recommend that you consult with a dietitian or health professional to help you create an effective diet plan to avoid long-term complications. We also recommend that you visit the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). It is a great resource for your gluten-free lifestyle, and they have a nice holiday recipe box, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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