How does stress lead to infertility?
Stress is a common factor in modern life, and it can affect many aspects of health, including reproductive health. When stress is chronic or severe, it can lead to hormonal imbalances that can affect fertility. Here’s how stress can lead to infertility:
Disrupts hormone production:
When the body is under stress, it produces cortisol, a hormone that regulates the stress response. High levels of cortisol can interfere with the production of other hormones like oestrogen and progesterone, which are essential for ovulation and fertility.
Stress can cause irregular menstrual cycles and an ovulation, or the absence of ovulation. This can make it difficult to predict the fertile window and time intercourse for conception.
High levels of stress can reduce libido and sexual desire, making it less likely that couples will have sex during the fertile window.
Affects sperm quality:
Stress can also affect male fertility by reducing sperm count and motility, making it more difficult for sperm to fertilise an egg.
Impairs immune function:
Chronic stress can impair immune function, which can increase the risk of infections that can affect fertility.
Impairs mental health:
The emotional toll of infertility can be significant, and stress can exacerbate anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions that can further affect fertility.
If you’re experiencing high levels of stress and struggling with infertility, there are steps you can take to manage stress and optimise fertility. Exercise, meditation, therapy, and other stress-reducing techniques can be helpful. It’s also important to work with your healthcare provider to address any underlying medical conditions that may be affecting fertility. By taking steps to manage stress and prioritise reproductive health, couples can increase their chances of conception and starting a family.