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Minerva Ginecologica 2002 April;54(2):151-60


language: Italian

Celiac disease and spontaneous abortion

Foschi F., Diani F., Zardini E., Zanoni G., Caramaschi P.


Background. Over the last ten years it has become clear that the clinical expression of celiac disease is more heterogeneous than was thought in the past. Although celiac disease is a relatively frequent disease (1/170-200), it is only diagnosed in a small percentage of adult cases compared to the real situation because it is manifested with few symptoms or in an atypical form, or occasionally is completely silent. Gynecological problems have been reported in women with celiac disease, in particular delayed menarche, early menopause, sterility, recurrent abortion and fetal intrauterine growth retardation. The main aim of this study was to investigate the association between celiac disease and abortion, and in particular to evaluate whether patients suffering from recurrent spontaneous abortion might present an atypical or subclinical form of the disease.
Methods. During the period 1997-1998 a series of laboratory tests were carried out at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and at the Institute of Medicine ''B'' of Verona University, in a sample of 184 women (149 from the Obstetrics Clinic and 35 from Internal Medicine ''B''). These tests included circulating anti-gliadin (AGA) and anti-endomysium (EMA) antibodies and total serum immunoglobulins. In positive cases, further diagnostic tests were performed using small bowel biopsy specimens.
Results. In our selected sample of cases, 5 women (2.7%) were positive for immunological screening against IgA-EMA and for bowel biopsy (confirmed diagnosis of celiac disease). Four of these women (2.1%) formed part of a group of patients with a positive history of spontaneous abortion and one (0.5%) was from the control group.
Conclusions. An analysis of the cases that emerged from this study and those reported in the literature shows that tests to identify the celiac disease should be ''extended'' to the population with a risk of developing this disease. These subjects should include those with a family history or clinical symptoms, in particular women with a history of multiple abortions. In these cases, there are grounds for suspecting an atypical form of celiac disease.

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