If you are trying to conceive, it’s important to know what’s safe and what’s not. You must also know about medications’ influence on fertility.
Medications can be a factor in both male and female fertility. As a result, if you and your significant other are trying to get pregnant, you will have to take the time to ask your doctor questions and learn about medications that are detrimental to your fertility.
Medications’ Influence on Fertility in Men
Although female fertility is usually thought of as being the culprit when couples have difficulty conceiving, many times, it can be the man’s fertility causing issues. In order for you to have the best chance at successfully getting pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy, the man must be healthy as well.
Generally speaking, the healthier the man is, the healthier his sperm is as well. Obviously, certain factors can adversely affect male fertility, such as smoking, obesity, excessively drinking alcohol or drug use. However, even certain medications can negatively affect a man’s fertility.
Some medications can actually lower a man’s sperm count. Others can affect motility, which means you can have trouble getting pregnant. If a specific medication is known to negatively affect sperm, there won’t be a turnaround until at least two or three months after the man stops taking it, the period it takes for a man’s sperm to be produced and to fully mature.
What Medications Should Men Avoid?
If a man is looking to impregnate his partner, there are over-the-counter and prescription medications he should avoid. They include the following:
- NSAIDs: NSAIDs like ibuprofen can reduce fertility, so men should speak with their doctor about their use.
- Herbal remedies: Herbal remedies like testosterone boosters can have the opposite effect and reduce testosterone.
- Steroids or testosterone therapy: Steroids and testosterone therapy can lower sperm count and even bring it down to zero.
- Chemotherapy: If a man has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, it can lower his sperm count. It’s best to wait until at least two years after the completion of chemo before trying to conceive.
- Blood pressure medications: Blood pressure medications can cause lower motility in sperm and decrease semen volume.
- Opioids: These drugs can lead to erection and ejaculation issues. They can also reduce testosterone levels and sperm count.
- Antidepressants: These drugs can adversely affect sperm production and lead to lower libido.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics can lower motility in a man’s sperm.
- Biologics: Drugs prescribed for treating autoimmune conditions can damage sperm and result in a higher risk of miscarriage if pregnancy occurs and birth defects if the pregnancy continues to term.
Medications Women Should Avoid
Some medications can adversely affect a woman’s fertility as well. Because of medications’ influence on fertility, it’s important that you avoid these drugs if you are trying to get pregnant:
- Steroids: Steroids can affect women just as they do men. They can prevent your body from producing enough follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH, and luteinizing hormone, or LH, both of which are needed for ovulation.
- Hormone-based skin and hair products: Beauty products that contain estrogen or progesterone can negatively affect ovulation, which can cause trouble when you want to conceive.
- Antihypertensive drugs: Older types of drugs for treating high blood pressure can adversely affect ovulation.
- Central nervous system drugs: Drugs that are used to treat issues with the central nervous system can also interfere with ovulation. Some of the newer medications are better alternatives as they don’t affect female fertility.
- Thyroid medications: Drugs for hypothyroidism can affect ovulation if the doses are wrong. Too little or too much can affect fertility.
- Cancer treatments: Chemotherapy and radiation can lead to premature ovarian failure, which is characterized by malfunctioning ovaries in a woman under the age of 40.
Asthma and Fertility
According to research, women who have asthma may have more difficulty conceiving. This is caused by the medications they take to prevent or reduce asthma attacks. These drugs may affect the body in ways that can also increase risks if pregnancy occurs.
A 2018 study by the University of Adelaide examined 5,600 women who were trying to conceive. Those with asthma took longer to get pregnant and had more problems throughout their pregnancies.
The research performed showed that certain asthma medications caused problems in women trying to get pregnant. Drugs meant to relieve asthma symptoms in the short term were shown to lengthen women’s time trying to conceive by 20 percent. Those taking corticosteroids to treat their asthma had better rates compared to those who didn’t have asthma. Scientists believe the reason for this is that long-acting asthma drugs lower the risk of asthma attacks and reduce inflammation.
If you have asthma and want to get pregnant, you need to discuss this with your doctor. Together, you should be able to come up with a reasonable solution that can keep your asthma under control and have a better chance at conceiving.
What Else Should You Do?
You need to speak with your doctor if you’re trying to conceive to learn how to safely take medication. Your doctor can advise you on what’s safe and whether there’s a good alternative you can have for the time being.
Checking the labels of your medication is essential. There are guidelines included that state whether drugs can adversely affect fertility and pregnancy.
Always take your medication as directed and don’t change your dosage, skip a dosage or stop taking the drug altogether. Also, you should never take medication not prescribed for you. You should also know all the details of the medications you take. Learn these details so they become second nature.
Once you know medications’ influence on fertility, you can take the right steps toward preserving your fertility and getting pregnant.