Infertility and Stress Management Treatment
“Just relax,” “Don’t try so hard,” “Go on vacation” or the all-time favourite, “Just adopt.” But for the vast majority of couples struggling with infertility, this is not sound advice. While stress does not cause infertility, infertility most definitely causes stress. This is not surprising since the far-reaching effects of infertility can interfere with work, family, money and sex. Finding ways to reduce stress, tension and anxiety can make you feel better.
Does Stress Cause Infertility?
There is no evidence to show that stress causes infertility, but we do know that infertility causes a lot of stress to the couple but to all members of the family. Infertility is a highly stressful experience, there is very little evidence that infertility can be caused by stress. Though we know that sometimes stress causes, changes in hormone levels leading to changes in the menstrual cycle, but it cannot be the cause of infertility.
Many studies have shown high level of stress can lead to high levels of cortisol which suppresses sperm production because there is an inverse relationship between cortisol and LH which is responsible for sperm production. In such cases, stress management helps to increase sperm count.
Does Infertility Cause Stress?
The answer to this question is, How much importance you give to your infertility.
- Struggling to pay for treatments
- Undergoing invasive, and sometimes painful tests
- Feeling completely and totally overwhelmed by emotions and hormones
- Making difficult decisions about appropriate treatment that may involve
- Religious, moral, or ethical dilemmas.
- Working in doctor’s appointments with a career
- Trying to keep the romance alive while having sex on command
Couples who are not able to conceive suffer high level of stress every month, dangling between success and failure every month.
Coping with Stress
Research has shown that stress leads to lowering of immunity. Stress alleviation (Relaxation) can often create a state of well-being by improving immunity, all of which may be an added plus in battling infertility. Maybe, the most effective way to decrease stress in non-conceiving women is relaxation. I think most infertile women find that other people getting pregnant is one of the hardest things about infertility, and I my advice to such couples is as follows:
- One does not go to baby showers.
- Two do not go into baby boutiques to buy baby gifts.
- Avoid negative thinking about your conception.
This helps essentially to protect yourself from stress.
We also teach Hatha yoga to our patients for two reasons as it is the most peaceful form of relaxing and it also keeps women physically and mentally fit.we suggest that the infertile women should stop weight exercises for few months. If they continue with yoga, their muscles will stay in shape.
What is Stress?
Stress is in response to the continual environmental changes inflicted on the body. The body tends to act in a manner to undo the stress. This it does by raising the level of hormone from the adrenal gland. This hormone is called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone for bodies “fight or flight” reaction. During stress, all other hormones which are essential for proper functioning of other system are reduced resulting in improper functioning of reproductive processes.
It can also lead to feelings like depression, insecurity, aggression, which can cause health problems such as headaches, stomach problems, high BP, acidity.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Stress?
Some Symptoms of Stress are:
- Dizziness, Headache, stomachache, back pain.
- Dry mouth and feels like grinding teeth.
- High blood pressure.
- Acidity or indigestion.
- Problem of unstable weight gain and weight loss.
- Shoulder pain and neck pain.
- Tiredness and weakness.
- Sexual inadequacy and weakness.
How Can I Eliminate Stress from My Life?
What we need to do is find the optimal level of stress which will individually motivate but not overwhelm us.
How Can I Tell What is Optimal Stress for Me?
Improve your ability to lower or adjust your stress level to your life style. It is seen that most illness is related to unrelieved stress. If you are experiencing stress symptoms, you have gone beyond your optimal stress level; you need to reduce the stress in your life and/or improve your ability to manage it.
How to Manage Stress?
There are many possibilities for its management. However, if there is anything you can do it is change. How do you proceed?
- If you know that your infertility is the main cause of your stress, then it is possible to modulate your emotional and physical reactions.
- Recognize what you can or what you cannot change.
- Minimize the intensity of your emotional reactions to what you cannot change
- Learn to live with your limitation.
- Build your physical reserves.
- Maintain your emotional reserves.