How a child his born into this world can influence the types and mix of bacteria in the intestines. The type of mix, in turn, determines the person’s risk for developing celiac and Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
German researchers wondered if children who developed these diseases had a higher rate of c-section birth. As it turns out, children who had been diagnosed with celiac — a disease in which eating gluten triggers the body’s immune system to attack and damage the small intestines — were significantly more likely to have been born via c-section.
Not so fast, say critics of the study. Just as likely is that these children were born to mothers who had the disease but had not yet been diagnosed. Celiac is thought to be hereditary.
The team studied children and adolescents in Germany who had been diagnosed with celiac, Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, in addition to other children with gastro-intestinal issues and a control group of children who were visiting the dentist or an eye doctor. Researchers then compared the rate of c-section births among the children.
They found that 28 percent of the children with celiac had been b0rn via c-section, compared to 19 percent in all the other groups. They did not find a higher incidence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis among the c-section babies, a little baffling since the three conditions develop in similar ways. Some reasoned that celiac is simply diagnosed sooner than the other diseases.
But critics who argue that the disease is inherited also argued that celiac disease in the mother increases her risk of undergoing a c-section. Which may mean women need to be tested for the disease even before they get pregnant.
Does your child have celiac disease? Was he or she born via c-section? Do you have celiac?