By Jocey Rodriquez
Is Your Lubricant Interfering With Conception?
Legend has it that nature conspires to promote procreation by increasing our sex drive and preparing our bodies for conception during our fertile window of the month. As we near ovulation, the increase in estrogen causes our cervical fluid to increase in water content, making it more slippery and lubricative. Besides making sex more comfortable, it’s actually designed to be the ideal medium to deliver sperm to where they need to go.
However, sexual activity can become a little challenging when our bodies, particularly our lady parts, seem to be working against us. You know what I mean, ladies? Sometimes, not only is our libido affected, but we just might not be producing enough natural lubrication to make things comfortable either. Especially when certain hormone shots (such as those used for IUI) are added to the mix, vaginal dryness can become a real issue. Intuitively, we think that using vaginal/coital lubricants can help ease the discomfort. However, were you aware that using lubricants can actually hurt your chances of conception?
According to several studies, some lubricants have actually been shown to decrease sperm motility and even cause chromatin damage (DNA fragmentation). Two crucial factors needed for the formation of healthy embryos. A study realized by the Cleveland Clinic ( 1) found that sperm motility significantly decreased with the popular FemGlide, Replens and Astroglide lubricants. It also showed significant decline in sperm chromatin quality with the use of FemGlide and K-Y Jelly lubricants. I know what you are thinking… “I use Pre-Seed, and it was highly recommended by my doctor!” Have you every looked at the ingredients inside Pre-Seed? Like most other lubricants, it contains both Methylparaben and Propylparaben, which can disrupt both male and female hormones ( 2).
Alas, there is hope! Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help. During ovulation, there should be a sharp rise in estrogen, which does a few things:
- Triggers the release of luteinizing hormone (LH), which causes the release of an egg
- Promotes cervical fluid production
- Increases your libido
However, due to stress, overwork, bad diet and lifestyle, and other factors, our estrogen production may not be up to par. Chinese medicine views low estrogen as a form of Yin deficiency. Acupuncture can be applied to certain points that nourish Yin and help restore proper balance in your reproductive system, encouraging normal levels of estrogen production.
This, in turn, allows your body to produce its own cervical mucus and natural lubricant. Chinese herbal medicine may also be administered to help restore Yin in cases where acupuncture may not be enough.
In addition, at Inner Peace Acupuncture & Wellness, we like to get to know all about our patients and identify factors in their daily life that may be inhibiting their reproductive ability. This means discussing everything from diet to cleaning products and even skin care and beauty items. You’d be surprised how the items we use can affect our ability to conceive and disrupt our health overall.
When ovulation approaches, keep in mind that sex should be an enjoyable process of baby-making. If lack of natural lubrication is getting in the way of that, consult with your Fertility Expert Acupuncturist, we are here to help!