Do Antihistamines Effect Fertility? The Snotty Truth

Allergy Medications Bad For TTC?

The disorientation, the bloodshot eyes, the sniffling…allergies get me feeling like I’d fit in better on the closest freeway off-ramp hustling stopped motorists than in my current world. Throw Fluffy into the mix and I’m ready to scratch my own eyes out. But as most pet owners would agree, denying our fur babies their nightly all-access bed domination is OUT of the question (how dare I even suggest it?!). But let’s get to the possibility of human babies here if I might.


Mucus doth not discriminate it seems, no matter what hole it exits from. The American Pregnancy Association’s ebook, The Essential Guide to Getting Pregnant, states that “antihistamines are just as effective at drying up your cervical mucus as they are in drying up your nose.” And we certainly want it to flow bountifully to southern shores. Lack of healthy, slick cervical mucus keeps sperm from reaching the uterus after all.

What is also important to know are the risks antihistamines pose to male fertility.  Studies are beginning to show that sperm motility is compromised in hay fever patients taking antihistamines. The International Journal of Urology reported two cases of asthenospermia (reduced sperm motility) that were completely reversed by ceasing long-term use of antihistamines.

In this particular study, an infertility evaluation deemed both a 35 and 44-year-old subject as having lower than 10% sperm motility rate (60% or more is normal). Within 6 months of stopping antihistamine treatment, the two subjects reached 77% and 85% sperm motility respectively. They and their partners conceived within a year without the aid of fertility drugs.


Fortunately, there are safe ways to combat allergies while you are TTC. Jeiran recommends one of the simplest home solutions is to clean your nostrils with a netipot (optimally after a shower or at least 4-5 hours before you go to bed). Supplements such as bromelain, Nettles, Quercetin and N-Acetylcysteine are also great alternatives.

Allergies suck but you and your partner might want to just suck it up while trying to get pregnant.


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How exactly the histamine H1 receptor antagonists (the technical name for what your pop’n in those pills or snorting through your nose) effect sperm motility is still under question, but the Doc’s in the study think they have a pretty good idea: “There is some evidence that intrasperm Ca2+ level plays a key role in influencing sperm motility in vitro and that histamine and histamine H2 receptor antagonists reduces sperm viability in a dose and time-dependent manner.”

Urologists at the Saitama Medical Center do go on to conclude however, with necessary vigilance that “one must be cautious in extrapolating from a case report, and there is evidently a need for continued laboratory investigation and thoughtful clinical observation of patients to better define the potential adverse effects on fertility of this commonly used histamine H1 receptor antagonist.”

To our knowledge no one is currently pumping up male lab rats with antihistamines to further examine the Saitama Medical Center’s study (spears of P.E.T.A rustling in the forest nearby), but additional mentions of the possible correlation between antihistamines and male infertility can be found in a special issue of Dermatologic Therapy, Dermatological Medication Effects on Male Fertility.

Hayashi T, Yoshida S, Ohno R, Ishii N, Terao T, Yamada T. Asthenospermia in hay fever patients improved by stopping treatment with histamine H1 receptor antagonists. International Journal Of Urology [serial online]. July 2006;13(7):1028-1030. Available from: Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, Ipswich, MA. (No conflicts of interest to disclose. There was no funding provided for the production of this article)

Millsop, J. W., Heller, M. M., Eliason, M. J. and Murase, J. E. (2013), Dermatological medication effects on male fertility. Dermatologic Therapy, 26: 337–346. doi: 10.1111/dth.12069 (No conflicts of interest to disclose. There was no funding provided for the production of this article)

(No conflicts of interest present in the above sources)

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