(See also Overview of Infertility.)
Normally, cervical mucus is stimulated to change from thick and impenetrable to thin and stretchable by an increase in estradiol levels during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.
Abnormal cervical mucus may
A pelvic examination is done to check for cervicitis and cervical stenosis. Cervicitis is diagnosed if women have cervical exudate (purulent or mucopurulent) or cervical friability. Complete cervical stenosis is diagnosed if a 1- to 2-mm diameter probe cannot be passed into the uterine cavity.
Postcoital testing of cervical mucus to determine whether viable sperm are present (which used to be routine during infertility evaluation) is no longer considered useful because results do not correlate with subsequent pregnancy rates.
Treatment may include intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization. However, whether either treatment is effective in women with abnormal cervical mucus is unproved.
There is no evidence that using drugs to thin the mucus (eg, guaifenesin) improves fertility.