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  1. Peterson, Megan DNP, FNP-BC, RN
  2. Grossman, Sheila PhD, FNP-BC, RN, FAAN


Although many people have symptoms of celiac disease, it can take a while to diagnose. Villous atrophy may be present long before any gastrointestinal symptoms. An important point to acknowledge is that celiac disease could be identified earlier in some women with a positive family history. The disease also could be the cause of some women's reproductive problems. Primary care providers, using comprehensive history taking, are in the unique position to identify individuals who may have celiac disease, assist women in gaining knowledge about a gluten-free diet, order diagnostic testing, and refer to a gastroenterologist. The positive change in fertility with a simultaneous improvement of nutrient deficiencies shortly after adopting a gluten-free diet indicates a possible link between such nutrients and sex hormone function. High levels of homocysteine, which can negatively impact fertility, have also been linked to individuals with problems, such as celiac disease, that decrease vitamin B12 absorption. The purpose of this article is to review the literature and the evidence-based care guidelines for comprehensive screening, diagnostics, and pathophysiology of celiac disease, with a specific focus on the female reproductive system, anemia management, and gluten-free diet integration.