By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Recent research has shown that women with coeliac disease are more like to experience a range of hormonal problems, including premature ovarian failure, irregular menstruation, endometriosis and infertility. It’s important to remember that those with coeliac disease may be more predisposed to suffering other health problems. Coeliac disease doesn’t just affect the gut. It can cause collateral damage to other parts of the body.
In addition to the hormone conditions mentioned above, female coeliacs are also more likely to experience a late menarche (beginning of menstruation) and an early menopause. Premature ovarian failure means an extremely early menopause, before age 40. It is usually caused by autoimmune disease affecting the ovaries. The average age of menopause is 51. Women with coeliac disease are more likely to stop menstruating before that age.
According to Rama Nanah, MD, a clinical hospitalist at Cleveland Clinic, who was involved in this research, “Our study found higher overall rates of women’s health disorders in women with celiac disease compared to nonceliac at all hormonal stages of life”. These findings remained significant among groups matched for age, race and body mass index.
Why are female coeliacs more prone to hormone problems?
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease, and people with it are more prone to developing other autoimmune conditions. They can also have heightened levels of inflammation in their body, which raises the risk of other health problems. Despite following a gluten free diet, some people’s intestines never fully recover. They may have reduced absorption of nutrients (due to injury to the villi) and unbalanced gut bugs (dysbiosis), and SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).