Infertility due to Stress

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 01, 2013

Stress is not established as an accurate cause of infertility, though it can lead to psychologically damaging your health. Experts suggest that stress can affect a woman’s hormonal levels and in extreme cases can even hamper or stop ovulation. In men, extremely high levels of stress can be the main causative factor leading to sperm problems. 
To what degree is stress accountable for causing infertility related issues?


Negative self-image


More than the condition, it is the stigma associated with infertility which can make one to suffer from negative self-image, which could lead to stress in men and women. When seen on psychological levels, stress can unfavourably affect the hypothalamus.


Changes in immune system


Stress can also lead to changes in the immune system which may create further complications with implantation and growth in the initial stages of pregnancy. 
In women, stress can lead to irregular periods and long-drawn-out duration of amenorrhea. This is due to the hormones released by the adrenal cortex, which is the main gland affected by stress.


Everyday stress and more


Both men and women face and handle stress differently; while women tend to be more vocal, men on the other hand harbour fears inside. Stresses in women can be of many sorts. Occupational stress, family issues and other eventful times in life like pregnancy, marriage and others, all these reasons combined together can lead to an abnormality in menstrual cycle. Men get stressed out with issues related to career growth, aspirations, financial security and family issues.

Effects of stress on women


Eating disorders is one thing which many women have to deal with when they are suffering from stress. It may result in either over eating or completely dismissing food. Both these health conditions can lead to ovarian or pituitary dysfunction. This is because few of the hormones produced by adrenal or ovarian gland can lead to alterations in the menstrual order. It can cause disturbances in the functioning of the ovarian follicles, which disrupts the growth or results in poor quality oocytes which are time and again unfertilizable.

Women who are totally feminine in their looks and overall appearance can become obese and can start shedding their hair easily along with the occurrence of acne.


Men, stress and infertility


In men, stress can be linked to long hours of over working, smoking, lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle. All these practices can lead to the release of adrenocortical hormones which decreases production, maturation and flow of sperm. Stress is believed to produce auto-antibodies in male, however the exact track of it is not scientifically well known.

Does reducing stress equals to overcoming infertility?


It is quite logical to note, that stress being a common factor of infertility which can cause alterations in the neurohormonal secretion, then reducing the levels of the same might lead to an improvement in the reproduction capacity.

De-stressing is the way to go


There is a valid reason when an expert advices couples who are trying for a baby, to go for a relaxing vacation. De-stressing yourself is the best way to get away from a vicious cycle of stress which can uproot your life as it keeps building up. 


One must note, that if a genetic disorder of some form has hopelessly blocked reproductive tract or has disrupted the nature of semen, then stress cannot play a much role either in causing infertility or doing away with it.


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