Cervical mucus is very important for conception. It is produced in the cervix which is present at the opening of the womb. It changes over the course of the cycle because of hormones. Cervical mucus creates the ideal environment for the semen to thrive and move freely, and hence, is very essential in achieving pregnancy.
Before ovulation starts, there is an increase in the cervical fluids which look like raw egg whites in consistency. When the cervical mucus is in this form, it helps in nourishing the sperm cells and increases their capability to move through the cervical canal. Hence it can be said that cervical mucus is essential to improve the chances of pregnancy. This process can be impeded if there is any problem with the cervical mucus and will cause problems in getting pregnant. This is known as cervical mucus hostility and it is the reason behind 3-8 percent of all infertility cases in females.
Cervical Mucus Hostility
Sometimes, the cervical mucus in a woman starts attacking and destroying the sperm before it reaches the egg. This condition is known as cervical hostility. Problems with a woman’s cervical mucus might interfere with the chances of getting pregnant. If the case is mild, it may lead to increase in the time to get pregnant and not cause infertility. However, serious problems with cervical mucus will cause infertility and might require treatments as well as hormonal support. When these problems become the reason for fertility problems, it is referred to as hostile cervical mucus. Problems with vaginal secretions include the ones that are highly acidic, severe vaginal dryness, or even other immunological problems can also be referred to as hostile cervical mucus.
Causes of Cervical Mucus Hostility
Cervical mucus hostility can be caused due to several reasons. The most common causes of this problem are:
1. Thick, Sticky, or Dry Mucus
An imbalance in the hormones and frequent problems in ovulation are some of the main causes of cervical mucus hostility. When the consistency of the cervical mucus is thick, the motility of the sperm will interfere. It may be due to side effects of certain medications as well.
2. Acidic Mucus
A highly acidic mucus is hostile to the sperm. A reason for this condition is hormonal irregularities which can interfere with your natural pH balance. Yeast or bacterial infection may also result in high acidity.
3. Inflammatory Cells
These cells develop as a response to infections. When these cells are produced in the cervix or vagina, they start targeting the sperm and actively destroy them. This can cause problems in getting pregnant.
4. Anti-Sperm Antibodies
These antibodies are defensive proteins. They are generated by the immune system of the body in response to an infection in the past where sperm was either involved or was actively present. While this condition is less common, they will still attack the sperm and kill them.
Cervical Mucus Hostility and Fertility
Here are some ways in which cervical mucus hostility affects fertility.
1. Medication Side Effects
The quality of the cervical mucus can decrease due to some medications. They might also dry up the mucus. Drugs taken for a short period of time usually do not cause any problems.
This is a medication usually given to help with pregnancy, however, sometimes, it can cause problems. When higher doses of Clomid are taken, it can increase the chances of having problem with cervical mucus. It is best to talk to your doctor about your lack of fertile cervical mucus or if you notice vaginal dryness when taking Clomid. They will help you with reducing the risks and side effects of the same.
Cervical mucus starts decreasing as a woman gets older. It is a well-known fact that fertility decreases with age, and one of the ways in which her fertility gets affected is because of the changes in the quality and quantity of the mucus. During the 20s, a woman’s cervical mucus can be seen for more days as compared to in her 30s. Sometimes, they may never become raw egg white texture and may remain at the watery stage. This mucus is needed for the sperm to swim and survive from the cervix to the uterus, and finally into the fallopian tubes. The consistency is different from person to person and there is no way of accurately predicting the number of days or quality mucus of a woman based on only her age.
During vaginal douching, you wash away valuable cervical mucus that is needed for getting pregnant. It also washes away good bacteria which leads to vaginal infection. An unpleasant vaginal odor could be a sign of a vaginal infection. Many medications for yeast infection might cause discomfort and irritation. Bacterial infections could be a reason for strong vaginal odors and treating it is important for fertility and overall health.
5. Being Underweight
The increase of cervical mucus that precedes ovulation is caused by the hormone estrogen. You may even have low estrogen levels if you are a professional athlete. Exercising regularly helps if you are underweight. This will help in the increase of more fertile cervical mucus and will also help with ovulation problems.
6. Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalance can be a reason for the lack of production of cervical mucus. There is a reduction in fertile cervical mucus if ovulation does not take place properly. It is also possible not to be ovulating at all but have an excess amount of fertile cervical mucus. It depends on the causes of ovulations problems.
Treating Cervical Mucus Hostility
Treatment for cervical mucus hostility depends on various factors. Usually, treatment includes the following:
- Antifungal or antibiotics can be used for the treatment of any cervical or vaginal infection.
- Mucus hostility may be caused due to high doses of clomiphene. Changing or lowering the dose can help.
- If there are no signs of anti-sperm antibodies and other infections, fertility-friendly lubricants can be used.
- Bypassing of the cervix can also be done with intrauterine insemination.
If infertility is persistent and all other treatment efforts are unsuccessful, then in vitro fertilization can be explored. Though it is common among infertile women, cervical mucus hostility is usually one of the last things that are tested for to check for infertility. Talk to your doctor and discuss this option for checking your fertility problems. Our team of doctors at KIMS Cuddles can explain cervical mucus hostility in detail and help you with ways to overcome it.