If you have lost your libido and passion is passing you by it might all be down to gluten intolerance
Sex drive plummeted? Passion passing you by?
It could be a symptom of coeliac disease, a common digestive condition that can play havoc with your mojo, yet most sufferers won't even make the connection. The disease is characterised by an adverse reaction to gluten.
Around one in 100 people suffer with the ailment, but it is estimated that only 30 per cent have been diagnosed. The majority of coeliac sufferers simply don't know they have it. If left undiagnosed, it can have far reaching implications.
Symptoms range from anaemia, bloating, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, nausea, wind, constipation, tiredness and sudden unexplained weight loss.
But few sufferers realise that lack of sexual appetite and even erectile dysfunction can be indicators too.
"Sexual dysfunction can be a lesser known symptom of coeliac disease, says Dr Gill Hart Scientific Director at leading food intolerance testing firm YorkTest Laboratories https://www.yorktest.com?.
"It is often blamed on other conditions, or even put down to stress or tiredness.
"Yet lack of drive, function and arousal in both men and women can be signs.
"If you suspect something isn't quite right in that department, you should seek answers by seeing your doctor and having further tests, especially if you're suffering the other characteristics of coeliac, such as bloating and constipation.
Coeliac isn't an allergy or food intolerance, it's an auto-immune disease in which the body reacts to gluten - a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
It damages the wall of the small intestine that is supposed to help the body absorb nutrients.
Because the wall isn't absorbing nutrients as it should, the body is being deprived of health essentials including vitamins and minerals.
"No one talks about the sex part in coeliac disease," says Phil Zimbardo, an American psychologist and professor from Stanford University in California, who was diagnosed with the ailment around six years ago.
"No one tells you that your sex drive can shut down and your very manhood can be challenged.
"As a psychologist, I'm always analysing behaviour and I just couldn't understand what was happening to me until I was diagnosed."
A study conducted in Italy back in 1998 researched sexual satisfaction amongst celiac sufferers.
They studied 55 patients, 24 men and 31 women between the ages of 18 and 65.
"Sometimes, I heard women complaining about troubles in their sex lives and sometimes, they would speak of how sex had gotten better after changing to a gluten-free diet," says lead author and gastroenterologist Carolina Ciacci at the University of Naples Federico II.
"It was clear that a study was merited."
Meanwhile in San Francisco, Dr Zimbardo cut gluten from his diet and started taking anti-inflammatories and probiotics in order to get his gut flora back on track.
Now in his early 80s and married for 45 years, he has a message for those suffering from the symptoms: get to a doctor.
"Changing my diet was nothing short of transformative," he says.
"I get impatient with people who say, 'Oh my God, you're still doing it.' Of course, I am! And I plan to do it as long as I can. Sex should be a central part of your life, no matter your age."