Stress can impact the health of many bodily functions, but the reproductive organs and fertility levels of men and women are particularly vulnerable.
This brief article will explain what stress is, how it can adversely impact fertility, and offer stress-reducing methods, such as breathing exercises, that individuals can employ to improve their chances of successful conception.
What Is Stress?
Stress is the body’s response to perpetual external pressure and comes in many forms, be it emotional, environmental, professional, personal or financial.
The symptoms of stress can impact almost any part of the body and manifest in different ways and severity levels for different people. Moreover, heightened tension can exacerbate a host of existing medical conditions a person may be dealing with. The reproductive tract is one among many systems significantly influenced by stress, in this instance likely resulting in fertility problems.
The Ways Stress Impacts Fertility Levels
1. Hormonal Fluctuations
From a biological standpoint, individuals who experience extended durations of stress develop and increase in what are medically referred to as “stress hormones.”
These substances, including commonly known chemicals like epinephrine and cortisol, may not only result in physical ailments that make sex difficult, painful or unpleasant, but also reduce all-important concentrations of sexual and reproductive hormones.
Elevated levels of stress hormones often interfere with the production and effectiveness of vital hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. The root cause of such chemical imbalances can be directly related to the diminishing systemic levels of another crucial hormone called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). This substance is responsible for the creation and secretion of all the major reproductive hormones.
Declining systemic levels of sex hormones can precipitate any number of physical or emotional difficulties that impact fertility in both men and women. Obviously, sex hormones play an integral role in stimulating the libido, sexual desire, and the enjoyment of intercourse.
That said, diminished internal quantities of these substances often lead to biological problems that can affect the ability to perform sexually or complete the conception process internally. In men, a decline in testosterone can precipitate erectile dysfunction.
Additionally, some scientists also opine that stress causes a decrease in sperm quality, which also threatens the conception process. Women afflicted with low levels of estrogen and progesterone produce fewer eggs, making fertilization and conception a greater challenge.
2. The Precipitation Of Lifestyle Choices
The impact of long periods of stress might prompt certain individuals to engage in habits that threaten the fertility process. Some over-stressed persons turn to the consumption of alcohol and recreational drugs, or start eating too much unhealthy, non-nutritious foods as a means of relieving the relentless tension they feel.
These lifestyle choices can precipitate physical illnesses that make enjoying sex difficult, or hormonal or bodily changes that lead to a lack of desire and sexual performance problems.
3. Mental Or Emotional Roadblocks
Fertility might also be impacted by the emotional state of the individuals attempting to conceive. While stress can lead to fertility problems, the mental manifestations such circumstances create could place added internal pressure on the impacted parties.
Research has determined that couples are more likely to conceive when both partners are in optimal physical and mental health and exposed to fewer external stressors.
Methods Of Reducing Stress Levels
Couples experiencing stress-induced fertility problems might experience a reversal in their fortunes by practicing one or more of the following stress reduction techniques.
1. Spending Time Outdoors
Spending time outdoors in natural surroundings has been shown to decrease stress levels and ease anxiety and depression.
2. Maintain A Positive Outlook
Psychology experts say that speaking positively about fertility and conception can play an integral role towards a successful outcome. Negative thoughts breed unneeded tension that could harm the fertility process.
3. Physical Exercise
Exercise provides a healthy and productive outlet for stress. It’s also believed to help the body regulate hormonal concentrations, enhance individual body image, and improve overall mood.
4. Take Breaks
Physicians and mental health professionals suggest that couples experiencing fertility problems should give themselves a break from sexual relations. Taking time to clear the mind and heal the body could be crucial to an eventual successful conception.
Meditation is highly recommended as a means of releasing physical and emotional tension. There are specific meditations that help with stress. A clear mind and healthy body can increase a couple’s chances of conceiving. In addition to meditation, relaxation techniques like yoga and various breathing exercises have also been proven effective. Why not try some meditations for fertility.
6. Pinpoint The Specific Reason Infertility is Occurring
While stress definitely plays a role in fertility struggles, some health care specialists suggest undergoing a medically supervised physical examination of the reproductive tract to ensure no underlying conditions exist.