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Know The Relationship Between Stress And Infertility

Below we discuss how being stressed can affect one's fertility.

Know The Relationship Between Stress And Infertility

High levels of stress can lead to a decreased sex drive

Stress is a physiological and psychological response to demands or pressures placed on an individual. It is commonly characterised by feelings of tension, worry, and being overwhelmed. Fertility refers to the ability of an individual or couple to reproduce and conceive a child. It is often measured by the rate at which a couple successfully achieves pregnancy within a certain period of time.

Stress can affect fertility. The exact relationship between stress and fertility is complex and not fully understood. However, high levels of stress have been associated with disruptions in the reproductive system and hormonal imbalance, which can negatively impact fertility in both men and women.

Stress can affect the release and regulation of reproductive hormones, lead to irregular menstrual cycles, lower sperm count and motility, and even interfere with sexual desire and arousal. Additionally, stress can influence behaviours such as alcohol or substance abuse, poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep, which can further contribute to infertility issues. In this article, we discuss how being stressed can affect one's fertility.

9 Ways in which stress might affect fertility:

1. Disruption of hormonal balance

Chronic stress can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones involved in regulating the menstrual cycle and ovulation, making it more difficult to conceive.

2. Impaired egg quality

Stress may negatively impact the quality of the eggs produced by the ovaries, potentially reducing the chances of successful fertilisation and implantation.

3. Irregular menstrual cycles

Stress can cause irregularities in the menstrual cycle, including skipped periods or prolonged cycles, which can make it more challenging to predict ovulation and time intercourse. Stress can also be a contributor in causing PCOS which further hardens the process of conceiving.

4. Decreased libido

High levels of stress can lead to a decreased sex drive or loss of interest in sexual activity, which can make it harder to conceive.

5. Interference with sperm production

In men, chronic stress can affect sperm production, reduce sperm motility, and impact overall sperm health, leading to reduced fertility.

6. Increased risk of reproductive disorders

Studies have shown a correlation between stress and an increased risk of certain reproductive disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis, which can negatively impact fertility.

7. Suppressed immune function

Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to infections and inflammation that can affect fertility.

8. Disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis

Stress can disrupt the normal functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which plays a crucial role in regulating reproductive hormones.

9. Psychological factors

Stress can contribute to psychological issues such as anxiety and depression, which can further impact fertility by affecting libido and overall well-being. Reduction in libido can affect fertility and other factors surrounding the same.

It is important to note that infertility is a multifaceted issue, and stress may not be the sole factor affecting fertility problems. You are encouraged to speak to a health professional to better understand how to take care of your mind as well as body.

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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