Non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS) most frequently presents clinically with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-like symptoms, although many extra-intestinal manifestations have also been attributed to it. No studies to date have evaluated the presence and frequency of gynecological symptoms in NCWS.
To evaluate the frequency of gynecological disorders in patients with NCWS.
Sixty-eight women with NCWS were included in the study. A questionnaire investigating gynecological symptoms and recurrent cystitis was administered, and patients reporting symptoms were then examined by specialists. Three control groups were selected: 52 patients with IBS not related to NCWS, 56 patients with celiac disease (CD), and 71 healthy controls.
59% of the patients with NCWS showed gynecological symptoms, a higher frequency than in healthy controls (P = 0.04), IBS controls (P = 0.01) and CD controls (P = 0.02). Menstrual cycle alterations were more frequent in patients with NCWS than in healthy controls (26.5% vs 11.3%; P = 0.03); the patients with NCWS suffered from recurrent vaginitis (16%) and dyspareunia (6%) significantly more frequently than healthy controls. Twenty-nine percent of patients with NCWS reported recurrent cystitis, a finding higher than in the control groups (vs healthy P = 0.0001, vs IBS P = 0.001, vs CD controls P = 0.04). Microbiological examinations were negative in most of the patients with NCWS and recurrent vaginitis or cystitis. During the 1-year follow-up, 46% of patients with menstrual disorders and 36% with recurrent vaginitis reported resolution of symptoms on a wheat-free diet.
Patients with NCWS showed a significantly higher frequency of gynecological symptoms and recurrent cystitis than patients with IBS.