When You Have No Cervical Mucus

Vaginal Dryness May Affect Your Ability to Get Pregnant

Common cervical factor infertility causes

Verywell / Cindy Chung 

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Cervical mucus is important for conception. Having minimal or no cervical mucus leads to vaginal dryness and can impact your ability to get pregnant. Fertile cervical mucus—sometimes referred to as egg white cervical mucus—is needed to help sperm survive and swim from the cervix into the uterus and eventually the fallopian tubes.

When cervical mucus problems stand in the way of getting pregnant, it’s medically referred to as hostile cervical mucus. Hostile cervical mucus can refer to severe vaginal dryness, vaginal secretions that are too acidic, or immunological problems.

Learn more about what it means to have no or low levels of cervical mucus, what causes it, how it impacts fertility, and what you can do about it.

Role of Cervical Mucus in Pregnancy

Mild problems with cervical mucus may increase the time it takes to get pregnant, but won’t necessarily cause infertility. More serious cervical mucus problems can require fertility treatment or hormonal support.

Cervical mucus is essential to achieving pregnancy as it creates the ideal environment for semen to thrive and move freely. Just before ovulation, cervical fluids increase and become more like raw egg whites in consistency. In this form, cervical mucus actively nourishes sperm cells and enhances their ability to move through the cervical canal.

Any problems with the mucus can impede this process and make getting pregnant more difficult. However, there are ways to improve cervical mucus quality and quantity.

Types of Cervical Mucus Problems

Cervical mucus hostility can refer to any number of problems with cervical fluids. Some of the more common issues with cervical mucus include:

  • Acidic mucus, which creates an environment hostile to sperm
  • Anti-sperm antibodies, defensive proteins produced by the immune system in response to a past infection which can attack and kill sperm
  • Inflammatory cells in the vagina or cervix, which can actively target and kill sperm
  • Thick, dry, or sticky mucus, which interferes with sperm motility

Causes of Cervical Mucus Problems

Cervical mucus levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. But sometimes, not enough is produced or there are other issues at play that adversely impact cervical mucus. There are many different reasons for having no or limited cervical mucus.

Medication Side Effects

Some medications can dry up or decrease the quality of cervical mucus. Those drugs may include:

  • Antihistamines or allergy medications
  • Atropine
  • Cold and sinus medications, especially if they include a cough suppressant or antihistamine
  • Cough suppressants
  • Propantheline
  • Some antidepressants and epilepsy drugs
  • Some sleep aids

While cold and allergy medications can decrease cervical secretions (just like they dry up the mucus in your nose), whether or not they can cause infertility is questionable. Usually, drugs like these are taken for a limited period of time and are nothing to worry about.

If you are concerned about a cold medication’s effect on your fertility, you could avoid them and try using a neti pot (with distilled, sterile water) to clear out your sinuses. Another option is to try a cream or aromatherapy treatment that contains menthol or eucalyptus.

If your antidepressant is drying up your cervical mucus (and likely also lowering your libido), discuss your options with your psychiatrist. There may be alternatives you can try.

Be sure you tell your gynecologist or reproductive endocrinologist every medication you’re taking, even if you think it’s irrelevant to your fertility. Your primary care physician and fertility doctor may have to work together to find the best solution for your overall health and fertility.

Never discontinue or change the dosage of a medication without first consulting with a healthcare provider.  

Fertility Medications

Clomid is a commonly used fertility medication that sometimes alters cervical mucus. Not everyone who takes Clomid will experience problems with low-quality cervical mucus. It's more common in those who take Clomid at higher dosages.

If you do notice vaginal dryness or a lack of fertile cervical mucus when taking Clomid, mention this to your doctor. They may prescribe an estrogen suppository to help counteract the side effect.

Age

As you get older, you may have fewer days of cervical mucus. The quality of your mucus and quantity of it may also be affected. In your 20s, you may have had up to five days of ideal-quality cervical mucus. In your 30s and 40s, you may only get one or two days. Sometimes, the cervical mucus remains at the more watery stage and never becomes optimal (like raw egg whites).

The quality of cervical mucus at different ages can vary significantly from person to person. There’s no way to predict with certainty how many days of quality mucus a person will have based only on their age.

The more days of high-quality cervical mucus you have, the better your chances will be of getting pregnant. That said, it's still possible to get pregnant when you have just one or two days of fertile cervical mucus.

Regardless of whether you get a good number of cervical mucus days or not, if you're over 35, and you've been trying for six months to get pregnant without success, you should see a healthcare provider for a fertility evaluation.

Douching

Vaginal douching can wash away the valuable cervical mucus you need to get pregnant. Douching can also wash away good bacteria, leading to an increased risk of vaginal infection.

It's best to skip vaginal douching or products meant as "feminine deodorants." Even if you're not trying to get pregnant, these products are not recommended, needed, or healthy for your vagina.

Infections

Infection can cause hostile cervical mucus. Yeast infections may be treated with over-the-counter medications, or, in more unusual cases, prescription medications. Many yeast infections can cause vaginal irritation and discomfort, making sexual intercourse a problem. You can start trying to get pregnant after treatment, which usually lasts a week or two.  

Bacterial infections can cause strong odors. You may feel embarrassed to talk to your doctor about unpleasant vaginal odors, but it’s important to your overall health and fertility. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also lead to other fertility problems, including infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It's very important to diagnose and treat any infection right away.

Damage to the Cervix

Previous injury or surgery on the cervix can also lead to problems with producing cervical mucus. If you've ever had cervical conization or cervical cone biopsy, you may not produce as much cervical mucus as before.

Being Underweight

The hormone estrogen is responsible for the increase in cervical mucus that precedes ovulation. If you're underweight, if you exercise excessively, or if you're a professional athlete, your levels of estrogen may be low. This may lead to less fertile cervical mucus and also to problems with ovulation. Gaining weight or cutting back on your exercise routine may help.

Hormonal Imbalance

A hormonal imbalance can also lead to a lack of cervical mucus. If you're not ovulating, you may not get fertile cervical mucus. It's also possible to have an excess amount of fertile cervical mucus and not be ovulating (called anovulation), depending on what's causing the problems with ovulation.

Treatment

Potential treatments for cervical mucus issues vary based on the underlying causes and other contributing factors (including age, smoking, and medication use). Management may involve treating any vaginal or cervical infection with antibiotic or anti-fungal medication. If you're taking Clomid, your fertility specialist may decide to change your treatment or lower the dosage.

A short-term course of ethinyl estradiol, a synthetic estrogen, may improve the production and quality of cervical mucus. You may be advised to take an over-the-counter cough remedy containing guaifenesin, an expectorant known to thin cervical mucus (though whether it improves fertility is unknown).

Using a fertility-friendly lubricant if there is no indication of either infection or anti-sperm antibodies can also help. Intrauterine insemination, a fertility treatment which bypasses the cervix, is another possible solution.

In rare cases, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be explored if these treatment efforts fail and infertility persists. While some people suggest that drinking more water or eating less dairy may help, there is currently no evidence that either will enhance the quality or production of cervical mucus.

Was this page helpful?
4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Curlin M, Bursac D. Cervical mucus: from biochemical structure to clinical implications. Front Biosci. 2013;S5(2):507-515. doi:10.2741/s386

  2. Wada M, Kasai T, Nagai S, et al. Effect of repeated administration of clomiphene citrate at two different times on the endometrium in patients undergoing intrauterine insemination: Effect of clomiphene citrate on the endometrium. Reprod Med Biol. 2004;3(3):153-157. doi:10.1111/j.1447-0578.2004.00065.x

  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Frequently asked questions about gynecologic problems.

  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health. Douching.

Additional Reading