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Study: Lipiodol Flushing for Unexplained Infertility & Endometriosis

Study: Lipiodol Flushing for Unexplained Infertility & Endometriosis

acheStudy: Lipiodal Flushing for Unexplained Infertility & EndometriosisWhile endometriosis is better understood in terms of its cause(s) and which natural treatments are most effective, both it and unexplained infertility can be mysterious fertility health issues. If you have either, we know you understand!

I recently reviewed research about a technique called lipiodol flushing that offers good news for women with these fertility issues that may be worth learning more about. It turns out lipiodol flushing may significantly improve fertility, facilitate a return to fertility and improve pregnancy rates, specifically for women with endometriosis (with open fallopian tubes) and women with unexplained infertility.

What is Lipiodol Flushing?

Lipiodol flushing is a procedure similar to hysterosalpingogram (HSG). A catheter is inserted into the cervix, lipiodol (medical grade, iodized poppyseed oil) is then injected into the uterus and fallopian tubes with guidance from an X-ray (a flush procedure can use a water-soluble medium, but lipiodol is the preferred material). Lipiodol flushing is performed at a doctor’s office generally on or before day 12 of the cycle, after menstrual bleeding has stopped.

How Does Lipiodol Flushing Support Fertility?

Lipiodol flushing is believed to help an embryo stick to the endometrium, increasing chances for successful implantation. The doctor who pioneered the technique, Dr. Neil Johnson, proposes the oil may regulate genes involved in cell signals and immune function, which prevent a woman’s body from rejecting an embryo.

What Does The Research Show?

In one study of 73 women with endometriosis and unexplained infertility, 38% of those who received lipiodol flushing became pregnant within 6 months (compared to 16% of women in a control group). Although more research needs to be done, these tests show similar success rates as traditional IVF procedures!

This is promising, especially considering a few of the patients had been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for a few years. Other big benefits of lipiodol flushing include:

  • it’s minimally invasive
  • costs much less than IVF
  • can be performed in a simple outpatient procedure

Lipiodol Flushing Isn’t For Everyone…

Research shows lipiodol flushing isn’t helpful for women with fallopian tube health issues or who have an allergy to iodine. In rare cases, lipiodol flushing may cause side effects like inflammation. Still, it may be a much more affordable, less invasive fertility-enhancing option for women with unexplained fertility or endometriosis (with open tubes).

Additional considerations…

Lipiodol flushing has yet to take off in the U.S., but it’s used in New Zealand. To learn more about whether this technique could help you or someone you love, here is a good resource to check out:

Further, women struggling with endometriosis and unexplained fertility achieve good results with natural therapies by following a Fertility Cleanse, using supportive herbs and supplements, and a daily stress management plan.


Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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    Is it advisable to ttc straight after the oil flush or to wait a cycle?