Evening Primrose Oil:
Dealing with Hostile Cervical Mucus and Related Infertility
For TTC women, evening primrose oil is used to enhance the volume and quality of cervical fluids (cervical mucus, or CM). Cervical fluids, around the time of ovulation, must be abundant and fertile in quality (like "egg white") to help support sperm movement and sperm integrity. Fertile cervical mucus (as opposed to hostile cervical mucus) is stretchy, semi-transparent, and often compared to egg-white in consistency.
Evening primrose oil (or EPO) yields a high volume of essential fatty acids like linolenic acid and gamma linolenic acid. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is synthesized and used by the body to create prostaglandins which are central to several important body functions.
Evening Primrose Oil and Fertile Cervical Mucus
For women who are trying-to-conceive, a primary benefit of evening primrose oil is that it may increase the quality of cervical mucus, making it a more fertile medium for sperm. One of the purposes of cervical mucus is to sustain sperm in a healthy medium, and to allow sperm to move freely through the cervix. When a woman ovulates, there should be an increase in cervical mucus, as well as a change in mucus texture - the mucus becoming more pliable, "stretchable", and slippery. This is "fertile" cervical mucus.
In some women, there may not be sufficient cervical mucus - or the cervical mucus that is present has infertile qualities. This latter type of cervical fluid is called "hostile cervical mucus".
Evening Primrose Oil helps women produce fertile quality cervical fluid, or "egg white" cervical mucus. This variety of cervical fluid is fertile, thinner, watery, more clear than cloudy, and stretchy or stretchable. It easily aids sperm in transport through the uterus and into the fallopian tube and to the egg.
Fertile cervical fluid helps sperm remain alive and mobile for several five days inside the uterus and fallopian tube, enabling conception to take place, even if ovulation occurs days after intercourse.
Hostile Cervical Fluid and Evening Primrose Oil
If cervical mucus is dry, or a cloudy color, or brownish, it can block or resist the movement of sperm and inhibit fertilization. This kind of CM will fail to provide the protective sheathing that supports sperm integrity and motility.
Many, many women experience dryness issues, and may have problems creating their own fertile quality cervical mucus. Evening Primrose Oil, or products like FertileCM, have been shown to help in the creation of fertile cervical mucus in such circumstances.
NOTE: Evening Primrose Oil should only be taken from menstruation (cycle day 1) to ovulation (around CD 14 or when you confirm ovulation has taken place by bbt charting / thermal shift), as EPO may cause uterine contractions. Since essential fatty acids are important, you can also use fish oils rich in Omega-3s or flax seed oil in place of Evening Primrose Oil after ovulation (during the luteal phase). FertileCM is another product designed to improve cervical mucus in trying-to-conceive women.