Will This Affect My Fertility?
A look at the reproductive influence of aspirin, baths, cosmetics, herbs, foods, and more
I’m not eating my makeup … what harm could cosmetics do?
Beauty products like nail polish, makeup, lotions, shampoo, and even baby products may contain phthalates, which recent research has found to be a hormone disruptor as well as possible carcinogen. You can breath them in or absorb them through the skin. While we lack extensive data on cosmetics, according to the Women’s Environmental Network, several limited studies suggest adverse reproductive effects in humans associated with phthalates. Its report says, “In women, higher urinary levels of phthalates and complications in pregnancy such as anemia, toxemia, and preeclampsia were correlated with residence near a PVC plastics manufacturer [where environmental phthalate levels would be high]. In another study, occupational exposures to phthalates at high levels were correlated with decreased pregnancy and higher rates of miscarriage.” Several investigations also indicate that phthalates may affect human sperm quality, both in terms of sperm density and sperm motility.
These industrial levels of exposure aren’t going to come out of your shampoo bottle, but reducing the exposure you have control over is a good idea. Start reading labels. Phthalates are rarely listed as such on a product’s ingredients list, often hiding behind the term “fragrance,” so read carefully. Choose products that are “fragrance-free” or that are scented exclusively with pure botanical or essential oils. Also avoid some acronyms that signify phthalates, such as DEHP, DHP, DPP, DBP, and DPrP.
What’s the connection between cough syrup and conception?
“For a long time Robitussin was used by physicians and women alike to improve cervical mucus,” says Dr. Deborah Metzger, MD, PhD, coauthor of Stay Fertile Longer: Everything You Need to Know to Get Pregnant Now–Or Whenever You’re Ready. The thinking is this: Guaifenesin, the chemical in Robitussin and many other cough syrups, not only thins the mucus in your lungs but will also thin the mucus in your cervix, thus creating a slippery, healthy path for sperm to swim unhindered to the waiting egg. In fact, doctors who prescribe Clomid to fertility patients often prescribe guaifenesin at the same time because Clomid can cause thicker “hostile mucus” in some patients. However, Dr. Metzger points out that the Robitussin trick is based on a 25-year-old medical experiment, so there’s not much current scientific evidence to back it up. On the other hand, she notes that it’s not really harmful to try as long as you make sure the cough medicine doesn’t contain antihistamines, which can dry up cervical mucus, dextromethorphan, which has been linked to birth defects, or other drugs like alcohol.
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