Effects of Robitussin on Fertility

QuestionEffects of Robitussin on Fertility:

“How does Robitussin help infertility, and how would I go about taking it?”


The use of Robitussin to assist conception is one of the first things that folks hear about when they start talking to others in online communities. Let’s clear up the information:

First, what you’re looking for here is not Robitussin brand per se, but one particular ingredient in the cough syrup. The ingredient is guaifenesin, which is also found as the active ingredient in several other over-the-counter (OTC) cough remedies, not just the Robitussin brand. However, you’ll usually hear references specifically about Robitussin use in our community.

Guaifenesin is a systemic expectorant, which means it has properties that will loosen and thin mucus. The thought behind its use in fertility treatment is that it may assist in thinning cervical mucus, which assists sperm in reaching their destination. There are no other positive effects expected from guaifenesin’s use for fertility issues, therefore, it is certainly not recommended for all situations.

As with all medicines, even OTC ones, there are possible side effects from using guaifenesin, including

  • Diarrhea;
  • dizziness;
  • headache;
  • hives;
  • nausea or vomiting;
  • skin rash;
  • stomach pain

While the above side effects are not common, anyone using guaifenesin should be aware of the possibilities.

Since there are no conclusive studies about the positive effects of taking guaifenesin for fertility treatment, most people use the dosage recommended on the cough syrup bottle. It should be noted that this dosage is intended to loosen phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tract, and has nothing to do with cervical mucus. The syrup is ingested orally.

Last, if you choose to use guaifenesin in cough syrup form, be sure to use a cough syrup that has no other active ingredients. For example, do not use a type that also contains a decongestant or other cold remedy.

I strongly recommend asking your own specialist about the use of guaifenesin and any other medication or herbal preparations during conception attempts. Even substances as seemingly harmless as cough syrup can be harmful in some cases, either to your health, an unborn baby’s health, or your conception attempts.

For more information on home remedies for conception, see the following:

Home Remedies: True or False?

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