Chronic stress may affect your fertility

The effects of ongoing stress may play a role in both women’s and men’s fertility. Although the exact link between stress and fertility remains unknown at present, it appears that certain hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol – hormones which often rise and remain high during times of chronic stress – may affect women’s and men’s fertility. For example, these hormones may affect a woman’s menstrual cycle – potentially causing changes in the timing and/or occurrence of ovulation. For men, the elevation of stress hormones may affect testosterone levels and sperm production, possibly resulting in a lower sperm count.

Stress has also long been known to play a role in the occurrence of sexual difficulties, most commonly impotence and ejaculatory problems for men. In addition, chronic stress can result in loss of desire for women, thereby decreasing their chances of conceiving a child. During times of high stress smoking and alcohol use are often higher – both of which have been known to affect fertility.

That said, it is important to keep in mind that stress affects all of us differently, and that the consequences of stress vary from person to person. If you find yourself stressed out and are trying to get pregnant, holistic health practices such as acupuncture, massage, and meditation have been found to reduce stress. Relaxation techniques, journaling, yoga, and seeing a counsellor can also help decrease stress levels and potentially improve conception rates.  Research has found that techniques such as these, which are designed to reduce stress, can have a positive effect on fertility.

Read more about holistic health approaches and fertility here.

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