Drinking coffee can hinder conception
Previous researches have already shown that consuming too much coffee can affect female fertility. But until now the reason for the link was a mystery. No more.
Now, researchers in the US have carried out the study and found that caffeine, the stimulant in coffee, impairs the transport of eggs from the ovaries to the womb, the `British Journal of Pharmacology` reported.
The study, conducted on mice, showed that caffeine inhibits contractions of the Fallopian tubes which are needed to carry eggs to the womb. The stimulant actually de-activates specialised pacemaker cells in the walls of the tubes.
These cells co-ordinate waves of tube contractions which move the eggs towards the womb, say the researchers.
The study suggests the contractions play a bigger role in egg transport than the beating hair-like cilia that line the walls of the Fallopian tubes. Previously it was thought the reverse was the case.
Study leader Prof Sean Ward of University of of Nevada was quoted by the `Daily Mail` as saying, "This finding goes a long way towards explaining why drinking caffeinated drinks can reduce a woman`s chance of becoming pregnant.
"This provides an intriguing explanation as to why women with high caffeine consumption often take longer to conceive than women who do not consume caffeine."
A spin-off of the research is likely to be greater insight into how the Fallopian tubes work, and could help doctors treat pelvic inflammation and sexually transmitted diseases, say the researchers.
Another benefit could be improved understanding of ectopic pregnancy, a painful and potentially life-threatening condition which results in embryos growing in the Fallopian tubes.