Infertility and Stress Management
“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. The inability to conceive children is a stressful situation for all couples, all around the world. Especially in Indian society, where people get married early, to have babies early, have severe consequences. The consequences of infertility are manifold and include social stigma and personal suffering. Advances in assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, can offer hope to many couples where treatment is available, but in India with joint families, and affordability being important issues, it is still a stressful experience for most couples. Though, treatment has become possible for large number of infertile couples, but stress amelioration has been neglected. Though, there is no proven evidence to show that stress causes infertility, but it is certain that infertility leads to stress.
There is some evidence of some connection between stress of fertility treatment and patient drop-out rates and pregnancy rates. Psychological interventions, especially, stress management and coping-skills training, have shown to have beneficial effects on infertility patients. Further research is needed to understand the connection between stress and fertility outcome, as well as effective psychosocial interventions.
Does Stress Cause 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.
There are several methods to reduce stress. In India we can learn about relation exercises by which each and every muscle in your body will be relaxed. In addition to relaxation exercises , we also recommend meditation and breathing exercises and to improve the eating habits. Al these things are good for the body and mind. It is best to discuss these things with your doctor before stating on or more of these exercises.
Relaxation Response Training
The relaxation response is a state of deep rest induced by mentally visiting each part of the body individually and giving a command for peace and relaxes till the whole body has been visited by your mind and induces total relaxation. It helps reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate. All these help to lower anxiety levels during the course of treatment. Similar effects can also be achieved by deep breathing and meditation.
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.
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.
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.
The best way to reduce your stress is to convince that you are doing your best to get over your problems and the rest is in god’s hand.