Not having any cervical mucus is not always a symptom of infertility. Cervical mucus is a fluid secreted within the walls of the cervix whose production is stimulated and affected by the levels of estrogen during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Fundamentally, it is released to aid in the nourishment, protection, and transportation of sperm while it travels through the cervical tract towards the fallopian tubes for fertilization. According to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, inadequate cervical mucus is termed as a cause for ‘idiopathic’ infertility, or ‘unexplained fertility’. This means that the cause of fertility is primary, of a spontaneous nature, and of essential value within the fertilization process.
Cervical Mucus Changes
During a complete menstrual cycle, a woman’s quantity, quality, consistency, and appearance of cervical mucus will undergo several changes. At the peak of estrogen hormone production, cervical mucus will be highly fertile, however as the hormone levels fluctuate, so will the cervical mucus. Cervical mucus that is known to be in its most fertile form, is called ‘egg white cervical mucus’, or EWCM.
EWCM has an optimum composition in terms of its pH levels and its texture to aid and nourish sperm prior to fertilization. This type of cervical mucus is clear and stretchy, and when held between the forefinger and thumb to a length of about two inches, it does not break. This type of cervical mucus is secreted as a woman approaches ovulation, which is her most fertile point in her cycle.
The American Pregnancy Association describes four basic stages of cervical mucus quality and quantity, and each can be observed at a particular point within the menstrual cycle. Immediately after a woman’s menstrual period, cervical mucus production is at its minimum as estrogen hormones are low. In most cases, a woman’s cervix would be rather ‘dry’ lasting a few days, after which she may notice a cloudy discharge. Towards mid-cycle, and as ovulation approaches, the quantity and quality of cervical fluid will multiply and, in turn, create a more fertile environment to favor conception. A day or two prior to ovulation, on ovulation day itself, and a day after ovulation, cervical mucus production will be at its peak. It will resemble an egg white consistency and its production will be in high quantities. A woman is most fertile at this time. Once the ovulation process has taken place, cervical mucus quality and quantity will once again decline and resume its thicker consistency.
Cervical Mucus Observation
Daily monitoring of cervical mucus is essential when trying to conceive. After carefully washing one’s hands, a single finger should be gently inserted into the vagina, aiming to get as close to the cervix as possible. Assess the consistency of the cervical mucus when you remove your finger and take note of it. Continue to monitor over time and notice any changes. Once you feel and see egg white cervical mucus, it is then that will know you are most fertile.
Anovulation With No Cervical Mucus
Before becoming stressed, you should first ascertain whether you are actually ovulating. This can be achieved by charting your basal body temperature each morning before getting out of bed. Keep an eye out for the continued rise that is indicative of ovulation. The temperatures should stay elevated for at least 12 to 16 days until your period arrives. If, by charting your cycles for a few months, you realize that you are not ovulating, then that is most likely the primary reason for no cervical mucus being present. You should speak with a doctor or a fertility specialist.
A woman’s weight can play an important factor into how much cervical mucus her body produces. Women, who are rather thin, may not have enough estrogen present in their body to stimulate ovulation. In order to ovulate, a woman needs to have at least 18 percent body fat.
Subsequently, if you are overweight, you could have an excess of estrogen and this can prohibit ovulation by interrupting the hormonal feedback system that orders the egg follicles to mature.
Low Estrogen Levels
Low estrogen levels are often suspected when there is little or no cervical mucus. But don’t rush out and buy estrogen supplements – these can actually do more harm than good as they can upset the normal hormonal feedback system, weakening the remaining reserve of cervical fluid and making dryness even worse. In this situation, your doctor may suggest doing an IUI, or intrauterine insemination.
An absence of cervical fluid can also be due to a woman’s age. When a woman is younger, she probably experienced many days of flexible and fertile cervical fluid, and as she grows older, those days start to diminish. Once in her 40s, a woman may experience only one day of fertile fluid and may not ovulate at all, even if she does have a seemingly normal menstrual cycle.
Certain fertility drugs, such as Clomid, that are designed to encourage ovulation, can actually dry up the cervical mucus that is needed to carry the sperm through the cervix. Antihistamines can also dry up any cervical fluid.
Increasing Cervical Mucus
Make sure you drink plenty of water, avoid antihistamines, and use a sperm-friendly lubricant, such as Pre-Seed.