Fertility and Stress – How Hormonal Balance and Stress Are Central

August 23, 2012 0 Comments

Stress plays a significant role in conception. This is the recent findings about the connection of stress and infertility. According to research, stress brings about a number of physiological effects which affect the process of conception. But can stress really affect conception? IT CAN, but not directly!

Undeniably, many couples in the globe are having a hard time conceiving. In fact, many are getting stressed in finding the best and affordable fertility available. Some couple even travel abroad just to acquire affordable fertility treatments. Little did they realise that their quest for fertility treatments actually increases their stress level which reduces their possibility of conceiving.

Theories Linking Stress and Conception
One study concluded that pregnancy is more likely to occur in months when couples feel good and relaxed. On the other hand, pregnancy is less likely to occur in months when couples are tensed or anxious.

According to research, some cases of infertility results from high level of chronic stress. It is further claimed that a significant reduction in stress level results to an increased blood flow to the uterus. This can significantly affect the probability of conception.

It was further found out that women with the highest levels of stress have ovulated 20% lower eggs compared to women that have low levels of stress. In effect, women who have ovulated the less number of eggs are less likely to conceive.

What Science Has To Say
Stress disrupts the harmonious hormonal communication between the pituitary gland in the brain, and the ovary. According to science, stress can affect the part of the brain which regulates the production of hormones.

Stress actually affects the hypothalamus which regulates the hormones necessary for egg production. Hypothalamus also plays a vital role in regulating the production of testosterone hormones.

The hypothalamus is responsible for the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone which triggers the pituitary gland to produce follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone thereby results to ovulation.

A body under stress usually causes the hypothalamus to release corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), a protein responsible which inhibits the transmission of GnRH signal to the pituitary gland. This leads to a reduced production of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone thereby resulting to non-ovulation, and delayed, irregular and even absent menstrual period.

Aside from affecting the sperm quality, stress can also elevate the frequency of uterine contractions which can affect the success of implantation. It even affects motility and sperm count.

In one study, it was claimed that when the body is under stress, it releases more of stress hormones. To increase the production of stress hormones, higher level of cholesterol is needed. In the long run, continuous production of stress hormones in the body results to a reduced production of sex hormones.

This results to hormonal imbalances which can lead to infertility, low libido and irregular menstrual cycles. In severe cases, high level of stress results to the suppression of menstrual cycles. Stress can also activate the pituitary gland to increase its production of prolactin. According to research, increased production of prolactin results to irregular ovulation. This reduces the woman’s probability of getting pregnant.

Also, when the adrenal gland keeps on producing higher levels of cortisol hormones, it inhibits the production of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which is necessary for the production of reproductive hormones including testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.

Stress and Infertility- Determining The Link
Stress causes infertility, and infertility causes stress. Stress can cause infertility as it affects the ability of the reproductive organs to produce healthy eggs and sufficient amount of good quality sperm. On the other hand, constant failure to conceive increases the level of stress. The cycle continues thereby reducing the couples’ probability of having their own children.

Stress Management- Vital To Achieve Higher Conception Rate
Managing stress is vital in increasing your chance of conceiving soon. Stress is best managed by eating nutritious foods, exercise and gentle yoga stretching. Reducing the level of stress actually helps in eliminating depression, anger and anxiety.

As these negative emotions are reduced, your chance of getting pregnant increases significantly. In the long run, reduction in stress level results to improved health of eggs and sperm, normalized menstrual cycles and increases the possibility of conception.

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