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Is Stevia the Reason I'm Not Getting Pregnant?!

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Julia Childless: Four days ago I stopped taking a week-long course of progesterone pills, in the hopes that I would get my period back, and finally begin all the preliminary fertility testing to find out why I haven't been getting pregnant in over a year.

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I'm on Day 49 of my cycle. Still no period. I took a pregnancy test and shot an e-mail to my reproductive endocrinologist: "WHAT'S NEXT?!"

As I waited for her response, I thought about just how messed up my cycles have gotten in the last half of 2009 -- this is my second case of amenorrhea (loss of menstruation), and the sixth time I haven't ovulated (as evidenced by charting my temperatures and taking Ovulation Prediction Kits). The first part of last year, I had evidence of some potential issues (a short luteal phase), but at least I had been producing an egg. Which is, I've heard, pretty essential to making a baby.

What changed in my life? What was I doing differently? Same life patterns. Same exercise. Same diet ... except ... well, the only thing I could come up with was that I had quit artificial sweeteners last June, replacing them with Stevia, at the recommendation of a holistic nutritionist. Stevia is derived from an herb in South America, where they've been using it as a sweetener for centuries. Could this little plant really be the problem?! It sounded crazy. I Googled a few combos: Stevia + Fertility, Stevia + Infertility, Stevia + Reproduction ...

I found a lot of stuff, none of it really concrete. Lots of studies involving tests with hamsters that were inconclusive, theories about it affecting male organs, gynecologists insisting that there was no proof that Stevia affected female fertility. Plus, these were mostly cases where large amounts of the sweetener were used, not the 1/8 of a teaspoon I was putting on my morning oatmeal or occasional cup of decaf Chai. I spoke to my nutritionist, who was baffled. She had never heard anything about this either.

Having taught sex education for three years, I did one more search. Stevia + Birth Control. And there it was: 29,000 results mentioning how tribes in Paraguay were rumored to have used the herb as a form of natural birth control.

Um ... EXCUSE ME?!?!

It could all be a coincidence. I know plenty of women who use Stevia who ovulate just fine. But are there any Stevia-heads out there who have actually conceived?

I just got an e-mail back from my reproductive endocrinologist. She told me to give my period a full week to come back after being on the progesterone, then to see my gynecologist for amenorrhea treatment (since it's covered by my insurance). So that means another 3 days of waiting around. In the meantime, I'm tossing my bottle of Stevia. I realize it's a long shot (if it really can be used as birth control, why isn't this national breaking news?!), but I'm curious to see if anything changes, if I'll magically start ovulating once again. Man, bland oatmeal would totally be worth that.





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15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Maria Rippy February 6, 2010, 8:29 AM

I have four kids. I used stevia before during and after my three youngest.

Gigohead  February 6, 2010, 10:14 AM

I don’t think stevia is to blame. It’s so easy to blame other things instead of yourself. Obviously, there is something physical that is not allowing ovulation. Not even hormones are helping. More tests will need to be done to understand why.

I would recommend you try Macca. It’s a Peruvian root and it stimulates ovulation. I tried it for a month and I got pregnant. I wasn’t ovulating for a few months. It’s normal after you hit 35. Turns out women only ovulate about 10 cycles sometimes less a year! go figure!

Anonymous February 6, 2010, 9:46 PM

You don’t have to choose between tasty oatmeal and normal ovulation; a little bit of real sugar wouldn’t KILL you. ;) Good luck though!

yoda February 6, 2010, 11:30 PM

The rumour that it had been used in paraguay as birth control, according to my understanding, is simply folkloric.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you all the luck in the world!

Antropologa February 8, 2010, 6:41 AM

Well, this is very interesting. My mom gave me a stevia product for Christmas and I switched from sugar in my tea to stevia, and now I haven’t had a period since before Christmas. I’m on day 50-something. I had to go to the OB/GYN for progesterone and I’m waiting on a period. I had been searching for a reason for why my previously-normal cycle would have gone kaput when nothing else changed!

mollysmom February 8, 2010, 8:23 AM

i’ve used stevia for over 2 years everyday and i’ve never missed a period.

Knocker Upper of Chicks February 10, 2010, 2:41 PM

FYI, the wife and I could not conceive for over two years until we gave up meat and dairy. Since then, 4 pregnancies in 4 years (early miscarriage on one) and 3 beautifully healthy kids.

lina March 16, 2010, 5:10 AM

Try erythritol it is also natural it comes from fruit it is not as sweet as stevia but it is better than not having anything sweet at all.good luck with results.

Jenya  June 13, 2010, 8:27 AM

Julia,

I also consume stevia and I also think that I’m not ovulating. Have you had any luck after you gave it up? What did you replace it with?

Jenya  June 13, 2010, 8:48 AM

Julia,

I also consume stevia and I also think that I’m not ovulating. Have you had any luck after you gave it up? What did you replace it with?

Anonymous July 8, 2010, 11:25 AM

Last November I too replaced my artificial sweetener with Stevia, and that month I missed my period. Never before in my life had I missed a period, and the only thing different in my diet and exercise regimen was the substitution of Splenda with Stevia. After reading reports online that other women had experienced similar problems when using Stevia, I decided to stop using it and, a week and half later, I got my period. This is not to say that Stevia is bad (because for most people it is a great alternative to sugar), but for some reason it had an adverse affect on me.

Andy August 16, 2010, 7:27 PM

Thank you for your post. I started using stevia daily in my tea earlier this year. Prior to using stevia, I don’t recall having any odd reproductive issues. Since taking daily, I have been plagued with metrorrhagia or too frequent periods. One of the three predisposing factors for this condition is a failure to ovulate. I am giving up stevia today. Better safe than sweet, sorry stevia lovers looks like it’s sugar for me.



Herbalist756 March 2, 2011, 4:19 PM

For those of you who gave up artifacial sweetners and switched to something else need to understand what the body does after giving up a toxin. Having a late period hardly consitutes proof that Stevia was the issue. Artifical sweetners can lead to infertility. I know where are the studies? Monsanto has hidden much of their test results or fudged others. You can however, do a serch for this and find a tremendous amount of information on it. If you have consumed artifical sweetners than that is most likely the culprit. Unless you are consuming a cup of stevia a day then I think the concern is unwarrented. I would however suggest you look into your other diet issues. Stay away from diary and meat.Add Chasteberry to your diet and search for other herbs to increase your fertility. Drink Raspberry tea.

pamela March 23, 2011, 8:28 AM

Just a note: for those with blood thickening propensities (mine is genetic) raspberry leaf tea will make it much worse. I have a family herbalist degree and thought it was literally the best friend, but my blood gets very thick with pregnancy and the RLT makes it worse. I lost my babies while on it.

We’re all so physiologically unique and need to listen to our bodies carefully. Keep a log of how you feel and what you’ve eaten, drank, thought, were exposed to, etc., and it’s very eye-opening and will help to find the patterns that for YOU may be the culprit. If you don’t know EFT or the Healing Codes by Alex Loyd, it’s worth looking in to so you can clear any deep down blocks, as well.

Juniper March 23, 2011, 10:18 AM

Try EFT- Emotional Freedom Technique. Google it.


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