Does stress lead to infertility? There is a definite link, say studies.
Infertility, if allowed to, can play havoc in a marriage. The stress can put excessive strain on relationships. But can this stress in turn be a cause for infertility? Researchers have not been able to build a direct, conclusive relationship between stress and infertility. However, we seem to hear more and more cases of infertility, more fertility specialist
clinics and research centers opening up across the globe. And we can't
help but wonder if these things have anything to do with the hectic
pace of modern lifestyle.
Can stress affect fertility?
Here are some theories that link stress with infertility:
Many researchers believe stress can
meddle with hormonal functions. There are some hormones that regulate
ovulation or the maturation and release of an egg. Stress, according to
some, leads to neurochemical changes that may affect timely and
systematic release of these hormones.
Besides, the uterus and the fallopian tubes are linked to the brain
through nerve fibers. Stress can
cause spasms in the tubes and uterus. So, even if the egg has been
fertilized, spasms can make its movement to the uterus difficult. And
in some cases when the fertilized egg reaches the uterus, spasms can
obstruct successful implantation.
Another theory finds that psychological factors, unlike
biological causes, play a limited role in disrupting fertility. They
believe tensions can make people develop certain habits like smoking,
drug abuse, not exercising, eating poorly or binging and gaining
weight. These habits have been closely linked to fertility disruption.
Some infertility experts also give importance to the age old
link between stress and insomnia. According to them, people with
stressful lives get less sleep. This disturbs the daily rhythm of
hormones related to reproduction.
Another theory relates stress with fertility problems
in men. It may affect the sperm structure and sperm count. It is common
for doctors to use psychological therapy to treat erectile dysfunction,
as they believe undue stress can be a cause.
Treating stress to treat infertility
If we believe the above theories to be true, can we then treat infertility by treating stress? Yes, says a study done by researchers from Emory University in Atlanta.
The women under the study had functional hypothalamic amennhorea (FHA).
Their menstrual cycle was disrupted for 6 months by a gradual decrease
in the levels of hormones that stimulate ovulation.
According to the researchers, 6 out of 8 women when given cognitive behavior therapy
were able to attain full fertility.
However, the study is limited in scope because there are many women who
face infertility for many reasons other than ovulatory dysfunction.
Is it really that simple?
To accept the idea that
infertility can be treated by relieving stress makes things worse for
couples battling infertility. It becomes a vicious cycle for them:
infertility causes stress which in turn leads to continued infertility.
They might blame themselves for their medical condition.
Human beings, most scientists will say, do not have the ability to cure
themselves through just positive thinking. Moreover, it is a fact that
women don't stop having children even after highly stressful and
adverse situations like natural disasters or wars.
Counseling and therapy does help couples to make better
decisions. It also gives them the strength to go through ordeals
related to infertility. But can any counselor guarantee pregnancy
Scientists have not been able to prove conclusively that stress and infertility
have a cause and effect relationship. However, we know that a
stress-less life helps us sleep better, eat better and live better. All
this nourishes our body. Even if tensions do not lead to infertility,
learning ways and methods to relax will always hold us in good stead for the future.
Sorry. Due to our site's regulations and policies, your message has not been posted. Our moderating team has been notified about your message. If the message is found to be genuine and still did not get posted, you may not post the message again as it will automatically get posted for you within 24hrs time (excluding weekends).
- The Indiaparenting Team