What Foods Should I Avoid While Taking Letrozole For Fertility?

What Foods Should I Avoid While Taking Letrozole For Fertility?

Considering taking letrozole if you’re TTC, and you want to know what food and drinks to avoid?

Or maybe you’re unsure what letrozole actually is and how it could help your fertility?

You’ve come to the right place!

We’ll explore the ins and outs of taking letrozole while trying to conceive, and help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you and your fertility journey.

In this article: 📝

  • How is letrozole used for fertility?
  • What not to eat while taking letrozole tablets 🍽️
  • Drinks to avoid while taking letrozole for fertility 🍷
  • Using letrozole for trying to conceive

How is letrozole used for fertility?

Letrozole (also known as Femara) is a type of medication in tablet form that you can take if you have a certain type of breast cancer.

It’s designed for adult females who’ve gone through the menopause, and is used to prevent breast cancer from coming back.

So, why would they be used for fertility?

Well, some of the benefits of the drug that can be used for breast cancer could actually encourage ovulation and fertility, too.

Letrozole is sometimes used ‘off-label’ to treat infertility in women, particularly in those who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

‘Off label’ is basically when a drug that is approved to treat one condition (in this case, breast cancer), is being used to treat another (e.g., infertility).

The reason?

Letrozole stops your body from producing estrogen — which is a key hormone around fertility.

Higher estrogen levels prevent ovulation, so by reducing the production, in theory, your body can ovulate more easily.

Some women take letrozole for a few days after the start of their period to try and time ovulation to happen in the middle of their menstrual cycle.

Clever, right?!

It’s useful for infertility caused by certain medical conditions, like PCOS, as PCOS can affect ovulation due to hormonal imbalances, which can, in some cases, cause infertility.

What not to eat while taking letrozole tablets 🍽️

So, now we’re up to speed on how letrozole works, what shouldn’t you eat while you’re taking the drug?

Well, the straight-up answer is that there aren’t any specific foods you should avoid when taking letrozole.

Not unless your doctor has directly instructed you not to do so.

You may find your appetite decreases, so make sure you have a balanced diet and try to eat smaller meals more often.

But, it’s worth being aware of certain foods that can raise estrogen levels, which could potentially counteract the effects of letrozole.

This is because foods may contain a compound that resembles estrogen, called phytoestrogen.

So, which foods should I avoid to not raise my estrogen levels?

Firstly, avoiding foods altogether probably isn’t the best method.

You’d want to restrict rather than cut out of your diet completely.

But some of the foods that may raise phytoestrogen levels include:

  • 🌾 Barley
  • 🌻 Sunflower seeds
  • 🥜 Peanuts
  • 🫘 Soybeans, lentils, or kidney beans
  • 🌱 Flax seed
  • 🍞 Wheat bran
  • 💚 Peas

Be sure to speak with your doc before you start limiting or avoiding any of these foods, though, as they’ll know the best course of action for you.

I’m taking letrozole for PCOS — what foods should I avoid?

If you have PCOS, your doctor may advise you to steer clear of some refined carbohydrates.

This is because women with PCOS are often insulin resistant - meaning that their bodies struggle to make insulin effectively.

To improve your insulin resistance, you could be asked to consider your refined carbs intake, which would mean watching out for foods such as:

  • 🍚 White rice
  • 🍞 White bread, white bagels, white pasta…
  • 🥣 Added sugar foods (e.g., flavored yogurts, cereals)
  • 🥤 Sugary drinks (energy drinks, sodas)
  • 🍰 Sweets and desserts (cakes, ice cream, muffins… all the sugary goodness!)

Letrozole and grapefruit — is it safe?

If you’re taking letrozole for breast cancer, you may be taking ribociclib and letrozole tablets.

In this case, you’re not allowed to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you’re using this medicine.

That’s because it can interfere with the enzymes in charge of breaking down these medications, potentially increasing side effects.

Be sure to check in with your doctor about whether you should avoid grapefruit if you’re taking letrozole for fertility!

Should I avoid taking any vitamins or supplements while taking letrozole?

It’s best to avoid taking any herbal remedies or supplements while taking letrozole.

That’s because, sometimes, these can interact with letrozole working as well as it should.

So, speaking to your doc at all times while you’re on this medication is crucial to make sure you monitor your symptoms accurately.

But, on vitamins and supplements in general, there’s not enough information to say that taking other supplements or herbal remedies is safe while taking letrozole, so best to go by the doctor’s orders.

What if I’m taking letrozole long-term?

Although it’s generally safe to take long-term, it can make your bones weaker over time.

This could mean they may be more likely to break, due to osteoporosis.

Joint pain was a common side effect of taking letrozole in some studies.

So, advice on exercise and diet may be recommended from your doc to keep your bones healthy and strong! 🦴

High-sodium foods are likely to be advised to limit, or avoid completely, including:

  • 🍕 Fast foods (pizza, fries, etc…)
  • 🥫 Canned soups (superrrr high in salt 🧂)
  • 🥩 Cured meats
  • 🥜 Salty snacks (potato chips, salted peanuts, etc…)
  • 🫘 Beans and legumes

But, again, it’s important to check over this with your healthcare provider, as they can give you the best advice for your individual circumstances.

Drinks to avoid while taking letrozole for fertility 🍷

Again, there are no specific drinks — alcoholic or soft — that you should stay clear of when you’re using letrozole for fertility.

But, the medicine may cause you to have difficulty sleeping.

That’s why caffeine — either in teas or coffees, or even sodas and energy drinks — should be limited or avoided, especially after lunchtime.

Letrozole and alcohol — is it safe?

It’s not unusual to wonder if you can have a glass of wine when you’re taking letrozole.

Or alcohol in general… 🍺

But, is it safe?

There’s no evidence that drinking alcohol while taking letrozole for fertility causes any problems.

But some people can get hot flushes or redness when they’re drinking alcohol.

So, if you want to avoid this, steering clear of alcohol, or at least limiting how much you drink, may help whilst you’re taking this drug.

Using letrozole for trying to conceive

So, now you know which foods to avoid when you’re taking letrozole tablets, you can choose whether it’s the right decision for you.

It’s important to note though that you can’t use letrozole when you’re pregnant, as it affects your hormones — which could affect how your baby develops.

While it’s not FDA-approved as a fertility medication, letrozole has proven to be extremely effective for stimulating ovulation, as well as other benefits such as treating endometriosis.

But, you may also want to consider some other options, too, such as Clomid — another fertility treatment.

Again, just be sure to discuss all your fertility options with your healthcare provider first, so they can help to choose the best course of action for you.

🔍 Read More: Femara (Letrozole) vs Clomid: Which To Choose? 🤔

We know navigating your TTC fertility journey can be overwhelming.

There’s a lot of information, and it can sometimes feel like you can’t stay on top of it all.

But, that’s where we come in. 🤗

Here on Peanut, we’re always having the conversations about topics just like these.

Join us today to find women in the same boat as you, offering advice and support in a friendly, welcoming environment. 🥜


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