Is it any wonder that infertility and stress are commonly spoken together in the same breath? The two work together, each as a cause and as a result of the other. If you have spent upwards of a year trying to get pregnant successfully but without success, those doubts start to creep into your thinking, making you anxious.
Or maybe you are living a very stressful lifestyle as a result of work, living situation or whatever. Could that stress be preventing you from success? And if so, knowing it adds even more stress to your already stress-filled life. These interwoven factors are all tied into a phenomenon known as infertility stress that affects both men and women.
It goes without saying that factors that causes infertility is a very significant crisis, one that centers around one of life’s most deep-seated desires. It is one of the most stressful issues ever to confront a couple, and it is not unreasonable to have a very emotional response. Those emotions may well include a sense of isolation, with the feeling that nobody else has ever had the problem. It can also cause feelings of inadequacy and even guilt, especially in the person in whom the infertility condition is found. So it is these associated emotions, along with the simple concern that they may never be able to become pregnant, that inflame the stress.
That stress can have a direct effect on your health, depending on its severity and duration. In this modern world, a certain level of stress is unavoidable. But relentless stress causes the body to take certain defensive measures that work against an environment where conception and safe pregnancy can occur.
We might consider there to be two main types of stress. First is acute stress—short term conditions brought about by a specific situation. The body may release adrenalin and other substances that prepare for a fight or flight from danger, for example. The other kind of stress is chronic, lasting over many days, weeks or months. Here again the body is releasing hormones and other chemicals to help the brain and body cope with the trouble.
Infertility stress, especially chronic or repeated events involving acute stress, can have a number of negative results on health in general, and on fertility in particular. Excessive stress affects women by disrupting the communications between the brain and various other organs responsible for creating hormones, eggs and other essential ingredients in a successful conception. The potential hormone imbalance is a big deal, as that can mess up the whole ovulation cycle, among other effects.
Stress can cause trouble for the cardiovascular system in both men and women, which may not influence pregnancy but certainly cannot be good in the long run. It can be distracting and reduce the sex drive and make it less attractive in the home for the couple to desire intimate relations. No intimate relations and no baby!
Infertility stress can impact the sperm count by affecting hormones in the man. The sperm health and mobility are also at risk.
Taken together, all of the above influences mean that stress is bad news for couples trying to get pregnant. It is therefore worthwhile to stop and take a look at lifestyle choices, work stress and anxiety over a delay in achieving conception. There are treatments for reducing stress levels.
Some natural treatments can be effective, including acupuncture and herbs. These serve to relieve depression by affecting the autonomic and parasympathetic nervous systems to reduce muscle tension, increase a sense of relaxation and release of mental agitation. Meditation techniques like yoga can help reduce stress levels as can professional and group counselling. Do not ignore the importance of stress on the fertility battle, both as a source of infertility and a result of it.