Caffeine May Paralyze Fallopian Tubes
In 2011 a study by researchers at the University of Nevada sought to establish exactly how caffeine interferes with fertility and discovered that caffeine has an adverse effect on the fallopian tubes of mice and probably women too.
The study showed that caffeine paralyzes the special 'pacemaker' cells in the walls of the fallopian tubes which control the rhythmic contractions of the tube walls. It was previously though that cilia - tiny hair-like projections that line to interior of the tubes - were primarily responsible for moving the egg/embryo along tubes, but now it seems movement of the tube walls may be equally if not more important.
The egg/embryo must be transported through the tube within a very specific time window for it to arrive at the uterus when the lining is most receptive to implantation. If the fallopian tubes do not rhythmically move an egg and/or embryo along in perfect time conception may be stymied.
The fallopian tubes perform very finely tuned functions: they waft an embryo along and 'hold' it at specific points while secreting nutrients to 'feed' it. Tubes enable an embryo to reach the uterus at just the right time for implantation to occur.
A HSG test which is commonly used to establish whether fallopian tubes are open does simply that, it checks if fluid can pass through the tube. The test cannot establish how "functional" a tube is or how well it moves an embryo along.
To achieve peak fertility may be wise to avoid caffeine containing beverages. Excessive caffeine consumption is associated with miscarriage too so it is a good idea to avoid caffeine in pregnancy also.
The lead researcher of the study noted above - Sean Ward - a professor of medicine at the University of Nevada commented that:
"This provides an intriguing explanation as to why women with high caffeine consumption often take longer to conceive than women who do not consume caffeine..."
There are other ways in which caffeine may interfere with fertility too; caffeine may compromise blood flow within the arteries which supply blood to the ovaries and uterus, thus raising the pulsatility index.
Some top fertility clinics such as Colorado Center For Reproductive Medicine routinely measure the blood flow of these arteries before IVF knowing that if the flow is compromised implantation may be less likely and ovaries may not perform as well.
Such clinics warn their patients to avoid all caffeine in the 24 hrs prior to the blood flow test as they have found that ANY caffeine can skew the accuracy of uterine blood flow testing.
When uterine blood flow is found to be poor a one month course of a specific acupuncture treatment is often recommended to restore good blood flow.
If you are choosing a decaffeinated coffee or tea, check that the caffeine has been removed via a water-based process rather than chemicals to reduce the likelihood of chemical contaminants from the decaffeinating process.
Want the latest? I regularly post extra updates on new fertility research, tips, and smart strategies on my Facebook page
This article is purely for educational and informational purposes and is not intended to substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment for which you should consult a physician.
British Journal of Pharmacology press release May 26 2011 "Why Caffeine Can Reduce Fertility In Women"
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