Female fertility, obstetric and gynaecological history in coeliac disease. A case control study

Digestion. 1994;55(4):243-6. doi: 10.1159/000201155.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of infertility, abortions and perinatal mortality, age at menarche and menopause in coeliac disease (CD). It was a case control study in which patients and controls matched for age and sex were sent questionnaires about their fertility profile and other obstetric and gynaecological problems. All 80 patients and 70 controls replied but only 68 groups could be matched for this study. The mean age of menarche in patients was significantly older at 13.6 years than in controls at 12.7 years. The mean age at menopause in patients and controls were 47.6 and 50.1 years respectively. The study showed the mean number of children born to patients with CD was significantly less at 1.9 (SD +/- 0.9) compared to 2.5 (SD +/- 1.2) in controls. Before diagnosis the mean number of children born to patients was 1.4 and 1.8 in controls. After diagnosis and treatment, patients had 0.5 children (SD +/- 0.9) compared to 0.7 in controls (SD +/- 1.2). It seems likely that the overall difference in fertility is due to relative infertility prior to diagnosis and its correction by a gluten-free diet. Significantly more conceptions amongst women with CD (15%) ended in miscarriage prior to diagnosis than amongst controls (6%). After diagnosis and treatment the rate of miscarriage was similar at 7 and 12% respectively. There were 120 live babies and 7 stillbirths to patients compared with 161 live babies and 1 stillbirth to controls. In conclusion, this study shows that patients with CD are subfertile and have an increased incidence of stillbirths and perinatal deaths.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Celiac Disease / complications
  • Celiac Disease / physiopathology*
  • Data Collection
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Humans
  • Menarche
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Reproductive History*