Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gluten linked to early menopause, miscarriages

Women with untreated celiac disease may hit menopause earlier, and have a higher risk of some pregnancy complications, than women without the disease. However, if women with celiac disease are diagnosed early, and follow a strict diet as treatment, the findings suggest they won't go through menopause any earlier than disease-free women. "It's very interesting that when this disease is diagnosed early and corrected by (a) gluten-free diet, you find that these people improved significantly and their reproductive function improved significantly," added researchers.

Furthermore, the researchers said that nutrient deficiencies, plus lower levels of some key hormones in women with celiac disease, may be the reason for the earlier menopause they observed. "When people have celiac disease, they have really chronic diarrhea, for example," researchers said. "With this, they lose much of the necessary amino acids, vitamins, (and) minerals, and all these certainly have their importance in the function of the vital endocrine organs. Estrogen levels are generally lower in women with celiac disease. Both reduced body fat and inflammation stemming from the celiac disorder itself can contribute to hormonal disruption.

The journal Menopause study showed women with untreated celiac disease went through menopause between age 47 and 48, on average - making their "fertile life span" shorter than other women's. The combination of miscarriages and premature births was more common in women with untreated celiac disease than in the comparison group, as well as more reported menopause-associated problems, such as hot flashes, irritability, and muscle and joint symptoms than non-celiac women.

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