Does Stress affect Fertility?
Evidence is growing relating to stress and fertility, but when you understand what is going on in the body it’s no wonder we hear stories that people take time out from fertility or have that holiday in the sun and pregnancy occurs.
There are various research studies that look at how stress can impact fertility in both men and women, and has shown that too much stress can lead to infertility.
Stress is a change in our surroundings or our environment and requires the body to react and adjust in response to these changes with a physical and emotional responses which in most is a normal part of life. Not all stress is bad, but research shows a decline in our cellular health when exposed to ongoing stress and the constant release of adrenaline. Stress is a natural, physical and mental reaction to both good and bad experiences that can be beneficial to your health and safety.
What Happens During Stress?
Adrenaline is a hormone released in response to stressful events which prepare the body for the ‘fight or flight’ response. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones and increasing your heart and breathing rates. Your brain gets more oxygen, giving you an edge in responding to a problem. In the short term, stress helps you cope with tough situations
How Can Stress Effect My Fertility?
During stress and its many chemical changes within the endocrine system in the body something called oxidative stress occurs. It is this affect that has been identified in research as one of the causes of infertility in men causing sperm dysfunction. It is interesting to note that over the last 70 years’ sperm count has also reduced. Could this be down to the effects of today’s lifestyles?
But the research doesn’t just stop with the problems of male infertility as researchers published a paper in the Journal of Human Reproduction found that women who reported feeling more stressed during their ovulation phase were 40% less likely to become pregnant that month. However, women who were stressed at the end of their period were likely to become pregnant. This could be related to the increased amount of cortisol steroid and other hormones released during that time promoting ovulation, but more research is needed.
Therefore, the preparation for pregnancy is something that shouldn’t be underestimated. Complementary therapies I promote during my natural fertility clinics with improved outcomes for couples trying to conceive naturally as well as alongside assisted conception techniques.
My program uses a range of complementary treatments such as Acupuncture, Nutrition, Aromatherapy and relaxation techniques to reduce the overall stress effects, regulate hormones and improve the inflammatory response associated with stress whilst using nutrition to help deal with oxidative stress affects and enhance your body to help improve your cellular functions which sees improvements for men and women.
Acupuncture is one of the most recognised complementary treatments used for reproductive health and is increasingly used to treat many stress-related conditions including; autoimmune or immunological-related diseases, infertility, anxiety, and depression. Research shows that acupuncture treatments result in changes in serotonin and endorphins levels increasing a relaxed state of body and mind.
One of the best stress relievers to us is exercise, and a natural way to treat anxiety because it releases powerful endorphin chemicals in the brain, which lifts the moods and is the body’s in built pain killers. Yoga has also been shown to have benefits by reconnecting the mind and body and improving how people feel about their body and therefore controlling anxiety and hormonal balance.
Relaxation and taking time to calm your mind with deep breathing techniques or meditation all have benefits in the management of stress. Just deep breathing alone will help moderate the oxygen and blood flow in the body and reduce blood pressure as well as relaxing the muscles.
Good quality sourced fresh foods that are full of nutrients like essential vitamins, trace minerals, healthy fats, electrolytes, amino acids and antioxidants all help your body deal with stress therefore benefiting your reproductive system.
Take Back Control and be Empowered
Whilst the fertility journey can be one of the most stressful situations you can experience both physically and emotionally, and your environment may just be adding to the stress. The effects of stress should not to be ignored.