STRESS AND Fertility
Long term stress has a detrimental effect on our physical and mental wellbeing. Trying for a baby can hold us in a negative cycle of stress.
How stress affects fertility:
- Hormonal Changes: Stress triggers the release of certain hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can disrupt the delicate balance of reproductive hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone. This imbalance can affect ovulation in women and sperm production in men, leading to difficulties in conceiving.
- Menstrual Irregularities: Chronic stress can lead to irregular menstrual cycles or even amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) in women, making it more challenging to predict ovulation and conceive.
- Impact on Sperm Quality: Stress can affect sperm production, motility, and morphology in men. High levels of stress hormones can reduce sperm count and increase the number of abnormal sperm, lowering the chances of successful fertilisation.
- Disruption of Sexual Function: Stress can negatively impact libido and sexual function in both men and women, making it less likely for couples to engage in regular sexual activity, which is essential for conception.
- Altered Immune Function: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, leading to inflammation and autoimmune reactions that may interfere with fertility.
- Impact on Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): Stress can also affect the success rates of fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). Studies have shown that women experiencing high levels of stress during ART procedures may have lower pregnancy rates.
Managing stress through techniques such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness, therapy, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and social support can help mitigate its negative effects on fertility. Hypnotherapy through a credible practitioner with experience of this work can be very supportive of a person’s journey to parenthood and beyond.
Always, seeking professional help from your GP, healthcare provider or fertility specialist is crucial for addressing any underlying medical issues contributing to infertility.