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How Stress Affects Fertility

The world today consists of a fast-paced society revolving mostly around careers and success. This can be stressful and has a big impact on fertility. After trying to conceive for a certain time, one can naturally be burdened by thoughts of infertility. Although it is not clear how canstockphoto43945311stress impacts fertility, new research has shown that women who are going through infertility treatments are more likely to conceive if they participate in a stress reduction program. This is no easy feat for patients with the diagnosis of infertility as it can cause a high amount of stress, sadness, depression and anxiety. Studies have even compared the stress of infertility to patients experiencing heart disease and cancer.

The body is programmed to prevent pregnancy in times of extreme stress. Hormones released from the body in stressful times signals the body that conditions are not ideal for conception. Hormones released in stressful times include adrenaline that inhibit the utilization of progesterone, which is essential for fertility purposes. High levels of prolactin are also released which can contribute to infertility. Other hormones such as catecholamines, cortisol and adrenaline can inhibit the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) leading to suppression of ovulation (egg is not released), reduced sperm count and lower libido in both men and women.

Here are some ways that you can help your fertility by reducing stress:

  1. Reduce: Try to avoid stressful situations starting with your job or occupation. It may be time to look for a new job. By reducing stress levels, it only helps fertility but also improves the quality of life.
  2. Change: Learn control. By controlling the reaction to stressful can have a big impact on reducing stress. Try to stop worrying about the “what ifs” in life. This may take time to practice.canstockphoto43905496
  3. Get enough sleep
  4. Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins which are happy hormones and can play an important role in coping with stress.
  5. Meditation, Yoga, Prayer: Many have claimed that these help them achieve inner peace and to reduce stress.
  6. Counseling: it can be helpful to have someone to talk to. Counselors can help educated patients on coping with stress in life. Support groups in the community may also be helpful.
  7. Pamper: Always remember to make time for yourself. Picking up new enjoyable hobbies such as reading a book, taking warm baths, or writing in a journal daily can help to reduce stress.

Stress does not only affect women who are going through infertility treatment but all women. A new mind-body program utilizes an exercise called “cognitive restructuring”. Patients are taught to replace negative feelings with positive but realistic thoughts such as “I am doing everything I can to have a healthy baby”. Women who are already going through infertility treatments should adopt this thinking and this can help them relax and accept all the future outcomes of treatment.

For top fertility treatment in Dubai and the entire UAE, visit us at PRC Fertility Center. We have expert fertility specialists who help women achieve their fertility goals frequently with such treatments as ICSI, IVF and more!

Causes of Infertility – Info from a Top Dubai Clinic

Infertility is a condition where couples are unable to conceive after six months or one year of unprotected and regular intercourse. Infertility affects about 6% of married women 15-44 years of age. Contrary to popular belief, infertility affects both men and women. Studies found that 7.5% of sexually active men reported seeing a fertility doctor during their lifetime, this equals 3.3-4.7million men.Infertility Sign

Infertility in men can be caused by multiple factors and can be evaluated using a semen analysis. The semen from the individual is evaluated for the concentration (amount), motility (movement), and morphology (shape). If the semen analysis is slightly abnormal, it does not always mean that the patient is infertile. Conditions that may contribute to an abnormal semen analysis includes:

  1. Varicoceles: the veins in the testicle is enlarged causing it to overheat which affects the number or shape of the sperm.
  2. Other medical conditions: Diabetes, trauma, infection or previous history of chemotherapy or radiation may affect the sperm.
  3. Habits: use of alcohol, smoking, steroid use or drug use can also affect the sperm
  4. Environmental toxins and exposure

For women, Infertility can be caused by any interruption to the process below:

  1. Ovulation: the process where the woman releases an egg from one of the ovaries. Some women do not ovulate due to:
    1. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): a hormone imbalance interfering with ovulation
    2. Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA): absent period due to no physical or emotional stress
    3. Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR): ovary is unable to produce eggs due to surgical, medical or unexplained reasons. Number of eggs also decrease with age.
    4. Menopause: ovarian function declines due to age and eventually stops producing eggs.

2. Fertilization: A man’s sperm must meet the egg along the way. If the woman’s tube is blocked, fertilization cannot happen.

3. Travel: the fertilized egg must be able to go through the tube towards the uterus (womb).canstockphoto27582301

4. Implantation: after travelling to the womb, the fertilized egg must be able to attach to the inside of the uterus.

For women, age is one of the factors that contribute to infertility. In today’s world, many women are waiting until they are successful and stable enough in life to have a baby. This usually occurs in their 30s or 40s. 20% of women in the United States have their first child after the age of 35 years old.

Aging not only decreases fertility but also increases the chance of miscarriage and having a child with a genetic anomaly. With age, a woman’s ovaries are less able to release eggs. They also have less eggs (decreased reserve), less healthy eggs, more health conditions that may cause fertility problems and more likely to have a miscarriage. Coupled with today’s lifestyle, many women smoke, drink alcohol excessively, are either obese or underweight, and have stress that can contribute to infertility.

It is recommended that women below the age of 35 can try to conceive for 1 year and women above the age of 35 years old should see a doctor after 6 months of trying to conceive unsuccessfully. A woman’s chance of conceiving declines after the age of 30.

 

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