In today’s modern, fast paced society, it is easy for people to become stressed. In fact, one would almost think that being stressed is the “in” thing, and if you aren’t stressed it must mean there is something wrong with you! Realistically however, stress is not a good thing for our bodies in general, and has a very real impact on your fertility.
Can Stress Have an Effect on Your Fertility?
Believe it or not, our bodies are equipped to prevent conception from occurring during times of extreme stress. The presence of adrenalin, the hormone that is released by our bodies during stressful times, signals to our body that conditions are not ideal for conception. Adrenaline inhibits us from utilizing the hormone progesterone, which is essential for fertility. It also causes the pituitary gland to release higher levels of prolactin, which also causes infertility to occur.
How Stress Impacts Fertility
Recent research tells us that stress boosts levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which inhibits the body’s main sex hormones GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) and subsequently suppresses ovulation, sexual activity and sperm count.
GnRH is responsible for the release of Luteinizing hormones and follicle-stimulating hormones by the pituitary, the suppression of testosterone, estrogens, and sexual behavior.
Chronic stress may cause lack of libido as well as a decrease in general fertility. This has become such a common issue that they have created a name for it Stress Induced Reproductive Dysfunction.
These facts are very important to consider if you have been trying to conceive with no results. It also shows that stress releif should be a part of every couples conception plan even if they are going through IVF.
Trying to carry a pregnancy to term during stressful times places the fetus at risk. The body knows this, which is why it creates an environment that is basically inhospitable to conception. Generally, a stressed person is an unhealthy person. Women with stress are generally overly tired, filled with nervous tension and may not be living a healthy style but not eating properly or worse.
Reducing Stress for Fertility
In you are having difficulty conceiving, stress may very well be a factor. If you have had fertility tests performed and have found that there is no medical reason for your infertility, it is time to evaluate your life and determine how much stress you have. Of course, you may not even have need for an evaluation. You may know you are stressed. In that case, it is time to start defeating that stress to help your fertility.
How to Reduce the Effect of Stress on Your Fertility
1. Reduce the stress in your life. This of course if obvious, as well as easier said than done. But reducing the stress in your life is so important on so many levels. It will not only help your fertility and health but also your quality of life. If your job is really stressful, maybe begin to find a different job or occupation. If that is not possible some of the tips below will help you to deal with your stress differently.
2. Change how you react to stressful situations. When faced with an ongoing stressful situation there is only one thing you have control over… how you react. Pay attention to how you react to the stressful people at work, or to your stressful situation. Do you turn it over in your head all night long, do you create scary future visions of what could happen. Getting control of how you react will have a big impact on what happens inside of your body when a stressful situation presents itself. This takes some attention and practice.
3. Have a practice or habit that helps you to reduce stress. Here are some suggestions of practices or daily habits that help reduce the effects of stress on your health.
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep
- Get an adequate amount of healthy exercise daily
- Start practicing Yoga
- Seek counseling
- Consume natural, calming herbs and supplements
- Reading a book in the park
- Take warm baths
- Surrender and let go
Fertility Meditation: Blue Sky Mind
4. Herbs help with stress.
Chronic stress may cause hormonal imbalance, lowered egg and sperm health, as well as create a lack of libido. Herbs that support healthy stress response, nourish the nervous system and support endocrine function are important.
- Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera)
Both a nervine and adaptogen. Works to re-regulate thyroid and adrenal gland function. Supports overall endocrine system function for improved stress response and hormonal balance.
Bee pollen has been reported to have great results in boosting immunity and fertility. Bee propolis has been found to support healthy immune, inflammation and stress response in the body. Learn more here…
Chamomile flowers (Matricaria recutita)
This herb is a nervine and mild sedative it may help to reduce stress, relax the nervous system and induce a restful state in the body.
Eluthero root and stem bark (Elueutherococcus senticosus)
Strengthens the immune system. Great for people under severe stress. This herb helps people to feel better, perform better and recover from immune suppression more quickly.
Fo-ti, also known as Ho Shou Wu or He Shou Wu, root (Polygonum multiflorum)
According to TCM helps to restore jing (life essence). Supports both thyroid and adrenal function, both are extremely important and sensitive to stress. The vine and leaf are sometimes used to aid stress, nervous tension and insomnia. Learn more here…
Lemon Balm leaf (Melissa officinalis)
Excellent nervous system support. Supports healthy stress response, lessens depression and anxiety. Good emotional health, and stress response is important prior to conception. Not for use for people with hypothyroidism.
Linden flower and bract (Tilia platyphyllos, T.cordata) Mildly lowers blood pressure, reduction in depression, supports nervous system function. Great for anxiety, depression and insomnia, very gentle and safe.
Maca root (Lepidium meyenii)
Maca is a nourishing food for the endocrine system, aiding both the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all involved in hormonal balance.) Supportive of both immune and stress response on the body. Learn more here…
Motherwort aerial parts (Leonurus cardiaca)
Famous herbalist Nicholas Culpepper 1616-1654 said, “There is no better herb to drive away melancholy vapours from the heart, to strengthen it and make the mind cheerful.” Supports heart health, reduces anxiety. Learn more here…
Schisandra, fruit and seed (Schisandra chinensis)Adaptogen, supports healthy hormonal balance through endocrine system support. Promotes proper immune and stress response.
Shatavari root (Asparagus racemosus)
Not only does this herb support healthy fertility, it is an immune system and nutritive tonic. Supports overall immune system function. Learn more here…
5. Books that have helped me transform stress. I use to go through a lot of stress. While I still experience stressful things in my life I have learned from others how to live in peace despite outside circumstances. One of the places I have learned this peace is through books. There are a couple of books that have made a huge difference in how I react to stressful situations.
In an effort to reduce and remove stress from your life to achieve fertility, it is important that you try to avoid harsh chemical medications that are prescribed to help individuals become less stressed. These medications merely mask the stressful feelings you are experiencing, and do nothing to help the situation. Additionally, some of these medications can cause infertility themselves, or have a negative affect on your fetus if you do happen to become pregnant.
There are many ways that a person can combat stress in an effort to increase their fertility. Stress is a powerful component in a person’s life, and can quickly run the body down. While some stress is completely natural and expected, to much stress will cause the body to go into survival mode so that your system can remain to function. Part of this survival mode is making sure you do not become pregnant, so if that is your ultimate goal, you will need to find some way to get rid of the stress safely and naturally.
6. Use EFT to help you. Trying to conceive can be tiring both physically and mentally. It affects your spirit, mind and body. So I would like to introduce you to a helpful and easy technique based on ancient Chinese medicine. In theory, it is very similar to acupuncture. The theory behind this technique is that when a person’s emotions are tightly wound up, it affects there physiological condition. Therefore by relieving the stress and freeing up the emotions of a person, a change is brought about in the physiological condition of a person hopefully helping her to conceive.
This technique is wonderful because it addresses both fertility and stress reduction at the same time. EFT is also a highly effective technique at removing psychological blocks to conception. Past traumas, memories, beliefs about pregnancy, birth and parenthood, can all affect how you truly feel about having a baby. You may feel ready to be a parent, but are there any hidden blocks that are stopping you from conceiving? EFT helps you identify and resolve these blocks, and move you towards having your baby.
1. Sanders, Robert. Stress Puts Double Whammy On Reproductive System, Fertility. University of California – Berkeley http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154116.php