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Can Allergies Affect Fertility?

If you’re no stranger to the telltale signs of seasonal allergies—sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, irritated eyes, the works—you’re likely familiar with antihistamines. These medications are designed to address the overproduction of histamines, which contribute to that outsized allergic reaction when the flowers start blooming. But if you’re actively trying to conceive, there’s more to understand about histamines, seasonal allergies and how it affects your fertility.

Key Takeaways

  • Histamines are produced by the immune system in response to allergens, but they may also play various roles in the reproductive system.
  • While histamines can be a good thing, issues arise from an overactive histamine response. That can mean inflammation, implantation interference and hampered sperm production.
  • There are steps you can take to manage the effects of histamine on the body and your fertility. That includes making diet and lifestyle changes, using an air purifier, and speaking with your doctor.

What Are Histamines?

Histamines are organic compounds the body’s immune system produces in response to allergens or pathogens. That’s a good thing, to a point—histamines are released from specialized cells as part of the body’s inflammatory response to fend off invaders and help maintain immune function. The issue comes from excessive histamine release, which can trigger allergic reactions and inflammation. As you may already know, inflammation spells trouble for infertility in both women and men.

But histamines aren’t limited to immune function. They may also be involved in various physiological processes in the reproductive system.

The Effects Of Histamines On Male And Female Fertility

Histamines can have both positive and negative effects of fertility. First, the good news:

  • Improved blood flow. Histamine can help promote vasodilation, which can mean improved circulation to the reproductive organs. That helps create a more favorable environment for conception.
  • Balanced immune response. Successful implantation can hinge on a healthy immune response.
  • Supporting uterine tone. Histamine interacts with specific receptors and may contribute to maintaining healthy uterine tone, which can facilitate implantation to the uterine lining.
  • Ovulation. Histamines have been shown to modulate ovulation. Histamine receptors can be found in ovarian tissues and follicles, pointing to a potential role for histamines in regulating ovarian function. 
  • Sperm function. Histamine receptors are present in the male reproductive tract, including the testes and spermatozoa, which suggests an influence on male fertility.

As with allergies, the issues come from an overactive histamine response. In that case, potential issues include:

  • Inflammation and allergic responses. Inflammation in the reproductive system can interfere with implantation and may increase the likelihood of miscarriage, while chronic inflammation is associated with a longer time to conceive. What’s more, conditions like endometriosis are more common if you have allergies. There’s also a relationship between irregular cycles and allergies like atopic asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis.
  • Vascular permeability. That improved blood flow we mentioned above? Excessive histamine levels can push this into vascular permeability, leading to fluid accumulation and potentially interfering with implantation.
  • Dysregulation of histamine signaling pathways can also hamper sperm function, affecting motility and viability.
Excess histamine can be the result of certain foods (aged cheeses, processed meats and fermented foods), seasonal allergies, chronic stress and inflammation. Hormonal fluctuations can also be a culprit for higher histamine production in some people.

Managing The Effects Of Histamines On Fertility

So, short of locking yourself away for months on end to avoid pollen and that delicious charcuterie platter, what can be done to manage histamine dysregulation and their effects on your fertility? Actually, you have a few options.

  • Change your diet. Aside from cutting back on those histamine-triggering foods, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods that are high in antioxidants (fruits, veggies and good sources of omega-3 fatty acids) can go a long way.
  • Embrace healthy habits. Stress is associated with histamine release, so consider stress-busting practices like meditation, yoga and mindful breathing techniques. Do your best to maintain a regular sleep schedule and get regular exercise as well, both of which help support immune function.
  • Talk to your doctor. If you’re really struggling with allergies, talk to your doctor. There are medications that can help block histamine effects to alleviate allergy symptoms, but you’ll need to proceed with care. The same antihistamines that ease your stuffy nose could also dry out other mucus in the body—including cervical mucus, which is key for facilitating sperm on their journey to the egg.
  • Get an air purifier with a HEPA filter. This can help clear the air to reduce your exposure.

With the exception of the air purifier, these steps go hand-in-hand with supporting fertility as a whole. Couples who are actively trying for a baby should pair good nutrition, regular exercise, stress management and high-quality sleep with a good prenatal vitamin to ensure daily access to key nutrients. Beli Vitality for Men and Beli For Women are formulated to support fertility health. Our women’s formula is one of just a few prenatals on the market meeting recommended levels of key nutrients shown to help promote hormonal balance and promote healthy egg maturation, among other benefits (1). Our men’s formula contains nutrients shown by science to promote healthy sperm production, sperm motility and morphology, and counteract DNA damage.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to fertility, there are so many things in play. It can feel overwhelming to manage everything, so focus on what’s within your control. If you’re dealing with allergies, follow the best practices we’ve outlined above and speak with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Article Resources

  1. Bell, C et al. (2016). Prenatal Vitamins Deficient in Recommended Choline Intake for Pregnant Women. https://clinmedjournals.org/articles/jfmdp/journal-of-family-medicine-and-disease-prevention-jfmdp-2-048.pdf

Additional Resources

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More