What You Need To Know About This Fertility Booster Taking Over TikTok

An ingredient in Mucinex and other cough expectorants could help people increase their fertility, according to a doctor vetting one TikTok user's surprise over that result (via BuzzFeed). TikTok user @juliasendojourney said on the social media site that she tracks her fertility because she has endometriosis and PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome. After she noticed that her signs of fertility rose after taking Mucinex to relieve COVID-19 symptoms, her doctor confirmed that can happen, she said in the video, which swiftly went viral.

This isn't exactly new information, though. Doctors since the 1970s have discussed guaifenesin, the ingredient in Mucinex and other over-the-counter medications, as a possible way to improve male and female fertility, said Dr. Natalie Crawford of Fora Fertility in Austin, Texas, noting one study from 2010.

Guaifenesin helps clear phlegm from the upper respiratory tract by thinning mucus, said Crawford, who is board certified in obstetrics/gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, and infertility. While studies have found no conclusive link, guaifenesin may change "the viscosity of the ejaculate and cervical mucus, thus making it easier for sperm to swim through," Crawford told BuzzFeed. "It does appear that, in certain people, this may help in their attempts at conception."

It may not work for everyone, doctors say

In fact, doctors have suggested guaifenesin in "natural attempts at pregnancy once other causes have been appropriately ruled out," Crawford said. Doctors have recommended it to men whose semen has a high viscosity, or resistance to flow; thick cervical mucus is not considered a top cause of infertility in women. "Because a woman's cervical mucus should appropriately thin out at the time of ovulation due to elevated estrogen levels, it is less common for it to be suggested to females," she told BuzzFeed.

Of course, this may not work for everyone. Crawford recommended speaking with your doctor first if you've been struggling to become pregnant. "There are probably a small subset of people who may have improved natural fertility rates by taking an expectorant, like Mucinex," she said.

People who have high blood pressure should not try this, Crawford said. Health professionals note that Mucinex and Mucinex DM, which also contains dextromethorphan, can cause interactions with other medications, such as those that treat depression and Parkinson's disease (via Healthline).