A recent study suggests that caffeine may be linked to infertility in women. The researchers from the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno say that caffeine can reduce the muscle activity in the fallopian tubes which carry the eggs from the ovaries to the womb. This can further reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
Initial studies were done using mice to determine the effect of caffeine on pregnancy. In mice, as well as in humans, eggs cells must travel to the womb in order to have a successful pregnancy. The eggs are being transported to the womb going through the muscular fallopian tubes. Although little is known about how eggs actually move through the fallopian tubes, the scientists believe that tiny hair-like projections called cilia that line up the fallopian tubes help move the eggs into the womb along with the muscular contraction of the tube walls.
Professor Sean Ward, lead author of the study, looked into the tubes of mice to see how caffeine affects its function. “Our experiments were conducted in mice, but this finding goes a long way towards explaining why drinking caffeinated drinks can reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant,” Prof. Ward said.
His team of researchers discovered that caffeine can stop the activity of the pacemaker cells in the walls of the fallopian tubes. These cells are known to coordinate the tube contractions. When inhibited, eggs are not being transported effectively through the tubes. These muscle contractions are found to be more effective in moving the eggs through the fallopian tubes towards the womb. “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,” adds Professor Ward.
This discovery might further help doctors understand how the fallopian tubes really work and how caffeine consumption may affect a woman’s chances of a successful pregnancy. It might also help provide insights into how to more effectively treat pelvic inflammation as well as STD’s. The said study is published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
Source: Wiley-Blackwell (2011, May 23). Why caffeine can reduce fertility in women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 24, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523121142.htm