Stress and Fertility: How it Affects Your Chances to Conceive

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As research grows, the apparent links between stress, anxiety, depression and infertility are strengthened. Doctors even suggest that stress may play a role in up to 30% of fertility issues. So, we continue to ask the same question: does stress cause infertility?
In 2009, researchers at University of California, Berkeley, revealed new information that supports the connection between stress and infertility. Scientists already knew that stress can boost levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol. These stress hormones inhibit the body’s main sex hormone, gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), thereby suppressing ovulation, sperm count and sex drive. New research shows that stress also increases levels of a reproductive hormone, gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH), which causes reproductive dysfunction by directly suppressing GnRH. This chain of stress reactions within the body hits the reproductive system with a “double whammy” of complications.
The hypothalamus is a highly complex portion of the brain with an immense variety of functions. It regulates many hormones in men and women — some that affect stress levels (like cortisol) and some that are necessary for conception. It also regulates body temperature, appetite, sleep, emotions and more. Any kind of stress can affect the performance of the hypothalamus. In severe cases, stress can cause a woman to ovulate later in her cycle or not at all. This is a recognized condition, which is sometimes called “stress-induced anovulation”. Of course, stress can impede conception in more obvious ways — if you or your partner is stressed out, you may not have sex as often, which clearly lowers your chances of conceiving.
Luckily, CNY Healing Arts Centers offer a myriad of ways to de-stress both short-term and long-term. Hormones aside, stress reduction may enhance proteins within the uterine lining that support implantation and increase blood flow to the uterus, encouraging conception.
Just remember! The effects of stress vary between each woman. While a lost job could leave your cycle unaffected, a bad hair day could delay the next girl’s ovulation. Furthermore, try to be sensitive to what stresses you out and proactively solve your problems. Although it can be both irritating and offensive to hear people tell you, “Just relax and it will happen,” there seems to be at least a grain of truth to this notion.
We offer many ways to de-stress at our CNY Healing Arts Centers at each location. Click here for our contact information at either the Syracuse, Albany or Rochester location. To read more about how de-stressing can help improve your chances to conceive click here.