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03:18:27 pm

Celiac disease linked to earlier menopause

Celiac Disease Rates In The US Increased From 2000 To 2004, But Plateaued Thereafter, Study Finds

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. Celiac disease affects "the whole spectrum of the reproductive career of women," said Dr. Shawky Badawy, the head of obstetrics and gynecology at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. "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 Badawy, who was not involved in the new study. Combined with other studies that have also shown reproductive problems in women with untreated celiac disease, "it's a really important finding," he told Reuters Health. In people with celiac disease - about one percent of Americans - the immune system reacts to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Eating foods with gluten damages the small intestine and keeps it from absorbing nutrients. The authors of the new study, led by Dr. Carolina Ciacci from Federico II University of Naples, Italy 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," Badawy 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, said Ciacci. Both reduced body fat and inflammation stemming from the celiac disorder itself can contribute to hormonal disruption, she explained. The new study included a group of about 100 postmenopausal women.
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"This has been such an unexpected result," says study researcher Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the University of Maryland's School of Medicine Center for Celiac Research and their Mucosal Biology Research Center in Baltimore. "Our impression was always that this disease began in childhood, and went under the radar screen and surfaced later on with symptoms." Symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal cramps, constipation , diarrhea , bloating , and nausea. The disease is triggered by ingesting gluten, the protein in specific cereal grains including all types of wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten-free foods are becoming more available and accessible due to the dramatic increase in rates of celiac disease, as well as other conditions that may respond to gluten-free diets. Celiac Disease on the Rise Researchers analyzed blood markers from more than 3,500 adults who participated in a two-part study conducted in 1974 and in 1989. They found that the incidence of celiac disease had doubled since 1974. The number of people with blood markers of celiac disease increased from one in 501 in 1974 to one in 219 in 1989, the study shows. The Celiac Disease Foundation states that one in of 133 people now have celiac disease. The incidence of celiac disease rose as study participants aged, which is in line with a 2008 study that showed the elderly are at greater risk for developing celiac disease. These findings challenge the commonly held belief that the loss of gluten tolerance develops in childhood.
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Celiac Disease Can Develop at Any Age

Stefano Guandalini, M.D., director of the Celiac Disease Center at the University of Chicago, told WebMD. "Many of these people have no symptoms, but many do have symptoms that are not recognized for what they are." According to the most current estimations, from a 2012 study from Mayo Clinic researchers, 1 percent of adults in the U.S. have celiac disease , CBS News reported. Celiac disease symptoms include diarrhea and abdominal pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. These symptoms occur when a person consumes gluten and the immune system of the small intestines overreacts to it, the Mayo Clinic explained. Eventually, celiac disease can lead to damage of the villi of the small intestine, which are important in absorption of key nutrients. There is no cure for celiac disease , but people with the condition can manage the disease by avoiding eating gluten. According to a position paper published last year in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, there are a lot of people who don't have celiac disease who still avoid gluten in their diets , even though their immune systems don't have any particular sensitivity to gluten. "'Sense' should prevail over 'sensibility' to prevent a gluten preoccupation from evolving into the conviction that gluten is toxic for most of the population," wrote the papers authors, Dr. Antonio Di Sabatino and Dr.
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