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Are you too sexy for your eggs?

Medical infertility treatments, like many medical treaments in general, don’t look too closely for a cause but rather like to jump in with the big guns of treatment -- surgery, powerful drugs, invasive procedures -- rather like the proverbial sledgehammer used to squash a mosquito. Doctors will make sure your tubes aren’t blocked, that you don’t have rampant endometriosis, maybe they’ll remember to check your thyroid . . . but I can bet no one’s going to ask you about if you habitually wear tight bras or if you have other sources of constant nipple stimulation.

Simply put, there is a reason breastfeeding can delay a return of the menses postpartum: nipple stimulation signals the brain to produce the hormone prolactin (get it, pro-lactin?), which in turn does your body the evolutionary favor of delaying ovulation so your body can have a little break before gearing up for another pregnancy (n.b. everyone’s hormones are different, and if you know anyone with “Irish twins,” you know that breastfeeding is NOT a reliable method of birth control).

But if you are trying to conceive and have, say, a nipple ring, you might be sending woefully mixed messages to your body.

For a first post, you may be wondering, tight bra warning, maybe, but nipple ring cautions?

Actually, my husband and I both teach at the college level (history for him, creative writing for me), and we like to break the ice the first day with a tell-us-one-unexpected-thing-about-yourself; mine would go something like, “I can play the ukulele!” But one memorable day, one of my husband’s students said, “I have my belly button pierced!” — and showed the class. This was followed by “I have a tongue piercing” — and so on and so forth, and we were amazed at the number of “normal” if not conservative looking students show-and-telling their myriad piercings, and many of these students from a decade ago would be just the right age to be starting families.

And, the first nipple piercing I ever saw was not some post-punk guy at St. Mark’s Place when I lived in New York, but slightly further up the road, in New Haven: a reproductive-age Yale grad student provided this visual initiation. Not to mention Janet Jackson’s famous flashing of her nipple ring to the Superbowl crowd in 2004. Who knows how many people were inspired after that so-called wardrobe malfunction . . .

Thus, if you’re one of those people wondering why you are having a tough time conceiving, take a minute to consider if you may be inadvertently promoting any forms of constant breast stimulation, and you might want to lose the nipple ring and the tight bras (which can also impede lymph drainage—more on that later). Apparently, these ironically named Angels Secret Embrace and Very Sexy Extreme Me Push-Up Victoria’s Secret bras are so constricting, people are complaining and suing about breast injury, possible allergies to formaldehyde in the fabricso don’t be too sexy for your eggs.

Visit my blog: Green Fertility

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Comments (3)

What kind of treatments are available for the milky nipple discharge and irregular menses?
marirea sanilor


Thanks for that interesting link. Yes, ironically, things that make us sexy might be undermining the ol' fertility quest. Other obvious ones include breast implants that may induce autoimmunity, thong panties, makeup...okay, it's not all bad news, but as always, a little knowledge and prudence always helps...


Well, I never thought I was too sexy for my jeans, but according to this article, I may be:

Tight jeans affect fertility in men, women

Now I'm wondering about those uncomfortable heels I wear!

Thanks for the article, Marie. I guess you can "green" your fertility in many ways.


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