Stress & Infertility

Stress is probably the biggest hindrance in conception.  The affects of stress can be so damaging and at the same time so subtle that many do not even know that it is the culprit.  However, we know that stress can have detrimental effects on one’s health.  Many people under heavy stress and pressure can experience a number of problems like neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, digestive disturbance, sleep disturbance, immune weakness, inflammation and infections anywhere in the body.  

Stress can have also affect the hormonal/endocrine system.  Now many women may notice that when their under stress that their menstrual cycles can be irregular, more difficult and painful.  In fact, many women can experience amenorrhea (lack of period), when put under excessive stress.  Of course, if stress levels are low, the cycle can be regular, and periods can be smooth.  Now there are two different types of stress that can affect a woman’s cycle.

Physical stress can pretty much shut down a woman’s menstrual cycle.  This can be seen in female athletes who for the most part do not even have a period.  Why?  Because your body says, “OK, obviously with all this running around and working out that your doing, we just can’t get pregnant” .  So an egg will not even release from the ovaries to allow for conception to occur.  The body will not let you get pregnant if the proper conditions are not there.  I see many female patients who love to work out and exercise.  I am all for exercise, but too much can be stressful on the body and actually slow down your ability to conceive.  Moderate exercise is ideal when attempting to get pregnant.

Likewise, emotional stress can cause a woman to have irregular cycles and difficult periods.  Amenorrhea can occur as well.  I have seen many patients who had a rough month at work and the in-laws are coming into town and next you thing you know, their period can get thrown off by a week or ten days.  Their body’s did not ovulate on time.  It was delayed because again, the body says, “This is not an ideal environment to get pregnant in”.  So as soon as we realize the impact that emotional stress can have on us, we must take action to manage and prevent it.

The modern woman is under a lot of stress.  You add poor diet, poor sleep, lack of exercise and environmental pollutions, it’s easy to see why infertility is becoming such a problem today.  So take initiative because their is no magic pill that can help you manage your stress.  No one can go in your mind and turn that switch off.  Acupuncture, Herbs and Psycho Therapy can help but ultimately it comes down to you being conscious of when your under stress and pressure and learning how to avoid it or manage it better.

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