Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"If I stop using products that contain Triclosan, will it boost my fertility?"
21 years old, trying to conceive for a year
Triclosan is an antimicrobial compound (kills bacteria and fungi) that is used in many cleaners, such as soaps and detergents. In order to review your particular case, I recommend scheduling an appointment to meet with your doctor, so that he or she can obtain a complete history of your triclosan use, perform a physical examination, and run any testing that is indicated. Having said that, triclosan is associated with a few negative side effects. It can lower levels of testosterone, act as an estrogen-like compound (so there is concern for increased rates of breast cancer development in those who use this agent), and can lower thyroid hormone level in the body and also block thyroid hormone receptors, thus making this hormone less effective. This last side effect can indeed lead to decreased fertility, although it has not been fully elucidated at what amount of triclosan use can cause this side effect. The manner in which low thyroid hormone levels affect fertility is by preventing the release of the egg from the ovary into the fallopian tube during ovulation. If this egg is not released, it then cannot be fertilized by sperm, thus preventing pregnancy. Although it is unclear how much of an effect triclosan is having on your fertility, there is no harm in substituting products that contain this compound with equivalent products that use other agents instead. Again, I would recommend making an appointment to meet with your doctor about this topic. He or she could even check your thyroid hormone levels (as well as other labs that could affect your fertility) to see if triclosan is having a suppressive effect on these levels in your body.