Similar medicines derived from the guaiac tree were in use as a generic remedy by Native Americans when explorers reached North America in the 1500s, but guaifenesin was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1952.
Effects of Guaifenesin on Fertility: “How does Guaifenesin help infertility, and how would I go about taking it?”
The use of Guaifenesin to assist conception is one of the first things that folks hear about when they start talking to others in online communities.
First, what you’re looking for here is not Robitussin® or Mucinex® brand per se, but one particular ingredient in the cough syrup. The ingredient is guaifenesin, which is also found as the active ingredient in several other over-the-counter (OTC) cough remedies, not just the Robitussin® brand. However, you’ll usually hear references specifically about Robitussin® use in our community.
Guaifenesin is a systemic expectorant, which means it has properties that will loosen and thin mucus. The thought behind its use in fertility treatment is that it may assist in thinning cervical mucus, which assists sperm in reaching their destination. There are no other positive effects expected from guaifenesin’s use for fertility issues, therefore, it is certainly not recommended for all situations.
As with all medicines, even OTC ones, there are possible side effects from using guaifenesin, including
- nausea or vomiting;
- skin rash;
- stomach pain
While the above side effects are not common, anyone using guaifenesin should be aware of the possibilities.
Since there are no conclusive studies about the positive effects of taking guaifenesin for fertility treatment, most people use the dosage recommended on the cough syrup bottle. It should be noted that this dosage is intended to loosen phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tract, and has nothing to do with cervical mucus. The syrup is ingested orally.
Last, if you choose to use guaifenesin in cough syrup form, be sure to use a cough syrup that has no other active ingredients. For example, do not use a type that also contains a decongestant or other cold remedy.
I strongly recommend asking your own specialist about the use of guaifenesin and any other medication or herbal preparations during conception attempts. Even substances as seemingly harmless as cough syrup can be harmful in some cases, either to your health, an unborn baby’s health, or your conception attempts.
External Impacts on Fertility
Particularly in Western cultures, the use of alcohol often plays a role in our popular notions about conception. The idea of “making babies” conjures up images of romance and champagne. However, for folks who are really trying to conceive, such old notions must generally be put aside.
In general, it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol during cycles in which conception is a goal.
There are no specific foods or beverages that will definitely make anyone more fertile. However, one’s overall nutrition has a subtle, but powerful effect on all of the body’s systems, including the reproductive.
The most important thing to know about vitamins and minerals is that they are best absorbed and utilized by your body when taken in food form rather than pill or supplement form. Also, it is possible to overuse certain vitamin supplements, creating a dietary situation that is actually more harmful than helpful. One exception to this rule is folic acid for women, which should be supplemented by pill (up to 800 mcg per day) in addition to foods because of the strong correlation between folic acid deficiency and neural birth defects.
Impact of Smoking
Very simply, and now known to all, inhaling smoke from any substance is bad for a body. In addition to the incredibly damaging cardiovascular and related effects, smoking (tobacco or marijuana) is by far one of the most impacting lifestyle variables when it comes to fertility.
It’s thought that central nervous system effects of nicotine may interfere with GnRH. Hydrocarbons from smoke of any kind induces enzymes which further alter hormone production. These reproductive hormone effects might account for the lower estrogen levels seen in female smokers. It’s possible to relate that to decreased number of eggs and impaired fallopian tube function.
Causes of Infertility
Age as a Cause of Infertility
It is probably too well-known to some that the older a woman gets, the more likely she is to have fertility problems. Researchers are just learning that the same might be said for men.
While there is certainly no magical cut-off date as regards to fertility, experts recommend that qualified specialty assistance be sought when well-timed, unprotected sexual intercourse has not resulted in conception after:
- one year, if the female partner is younger than 30, and
- after six months, if the female partner is in her 30’s or older.
Ovulation disorders, infrequent or absent ovulation (anovulation), typically result in infrequent periods (oligomenorrhea). The results are
- fewer opportunities to conceive
- difficulty detecting a woman’s fertile periods
- eggs not breaking through the follicle
- eggs being released off-sync with other factors crucial to fertilization or implantation
While the term “shooting blanks” can strike humiliation in the hearts of most men, there is much more to male-factor infertility than a matter of azoospermia (absence of sperm).
Since male factors account for approximately half of diagnosed cases of infertility, it is important that the male partner be just as involved in the diagnostic process as the female. It is not possible for a man to be aware of some of the above conditions without appropriate, skilled examination.