A nerve-wracking and sedentary lifestyle not only leads to a sudden weight gain in women but also hinders with their hope of expanding their families and having a baby. This is substantiated by a recent global study that portrays a link between chronic stress and poor ovarian activity with the limelight being on the hunger hormone.
Stress leads to instigating a hormone called Ghrelin, which is linked with hunger. The high blood levels of Ghrelin cause an uncontrolled increase in a person’s appetite, which ultimately disturbs the balance between caloric intake and caloric use by the body. The surplus calories are of course stored in the body as fat tissue, which in turn throws the hormonal balance out of sync thus affecting the reproductive function. Combating stress and Gherlin at the right time protects the reproductive function of the body.
Demystifying the Link
Stress is nothing new and most of us deal with it at some point or the other and emerge out of it beautifully. Stress can lead to several health issues like sleeplessness, weight loss, weight gain, depression, etc. and for people trying to have babies, these directly / indirectly impact fertility. While for most people, stress-related fertility issues are short-lived and reversible, the effect of it on women who are already facing problems related to conception, are grave. Chronic stress not only disrupts a woman’s ovulatory cycle but also reduces the chances of conception.
The Effect on Fertility
The lifespan of a woman’s reproductive system is finite, from the start of periods till she hits menopause. The reproductive life span depends on the ovarian reserve which can be estimated by the blood level of serum AMH hormone. Better the AMH hormone, better the ovarian reserve and better is the reproductive outcome. People under chronic stress have fewer follicles that can be recruited in a particular month for ovulation and hence also have reduced fertility. Once the stress has been dealt with, the fertility potential is restored to the level expected for that age. Newer studies show that managing the raised Gherlin hormone along with managing stress gives better outcomes during fertility treatments.
Combating the Ghrelin Hormone for a healthy happy life
Now that the role of the Ghrelin hormone has been established in playing havoc with the system, experts are working towards finding suitable solutions to alleviate the impact of Gherlin imbalance and stress on reproduction function. One of the best things one can do to achieve this is weight loss, low impact exercises, and de-stressing. Different people de-stress differently, it may be yoga and meditation for one, music for the other and going on a run for someone else. The bottom line is that being happy and stress-free helps a woman achieve pregnancy earlier.
(With inputs from Dr. Rajalaxmi Walavalkar, Medical Director, Senior Gynaecologist and IVF Specialist at Cocoon Fertility)
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