Importance Of Stress Reduction For Balance Of The Reproductive System
You may have heard the maxim: Just relax and be positive and it will happen. You will become pregnant as easy as that! For some women this seems to be so, but for millions of women in the US and around the world, this is not the case. These women may become upset with the comment about relaxing and may reject it outright. They may automatically put up their dukes, even though they may not be fully equipped to spar with their seeming opponents!
If you aren’t fully stressed out when you commence your journey, you are certain to add to your stress after months of trying without success and after years of testing and procedures, etc. The stress builds when your siblings and friends move forward with their family planning efforts and you are stuck in a bind.
Since women are more than their physical bodies represent, there must be a balance of all four components of humans in body, mind, spirit, and emotions so that the reproductive system can work freely and unencumbered. Coincidentally, this foursome is also essential for healing and for keeping women in-sync with themselves, their mates, and their creative powers.
Recent Research Confirms Link Between Stress And Infertility
For years researchers pointed to the fact that stress can result from infertility, but that it was not the cause of it. However, in March 2014, researchers reported a strong association between stress and infertility and confirmed the results of an earlier research project. In the recent study, published in the journal, Human Reproduction, 401 women, who had no evidence of infertility, were followed. Their saliva levels were checked. It was found that the substance, alpha-amylase, found in the saliva during stress, was higher in women who were infertile. In fact, they found that these women with high stress levels were 29 percent more likely to be infertile and twice as likely to be diagnosed with infertility after one year of trying to conceive with unprotected intercourse.
Co-author of the study, Dr. Germaine Buck Lewis, argued ‘Eliminating stressors before trying to become pregnant might shorten the time couples need to become pregnant in comparison to ignoring stress.’ It is also mentioned that stress is not the only factor to be observed, for reproduction is complicated. It is true that women have had babies during wartime, when there was high stress. However, some women may be more vulnerable than others. This being said, we have all heard of women getting pregnant during a vacation or after adopting a baby, when the stressors are relieved momentarily. This is not always a coincidence. Many mental health professionals believe that it is not the stressors that cause challenges but one’s reaction to them.
Stress Can Upset Biochemical Balance
There is a delicate balance in women’s reproductive cycles. The hypothalamus-pituitary axis is the leader of the orchestra and is finely tuned. Dr. Sarah Berga stated that even low levels of stress can have a negative impact on ovulation, but high levels are associated with an increased risk of infertility.
Stress causes tremendous changes in the body’s biochemistry and upsets the normal rhythm and balance. It can disrupt the production of hormones required for ovulation, implantation, and sperm quality. While under stress, the body is protecting itself to survive, and supporting a developing fetus could also serve to put additional strain on it.
Stress affects the nervous and endocrine systems in the following ways:
- The hypothalamus regulates the stress response, as well as sex hormones. Excessive stress can lead to anovulation and menstrual irregularities.
- Adrenaline is released by the adrenals when stressed. It helps us to escape from danger but also inhibits the production of progesterone, which is essential to build and maintain the lining of the uterus, thus inhibiting pregnancy.
- Prolactin, usually released by the Pituitary to prevent pregnancy while breast feeding, is also produced during times of stress and impedes fertility as a birth control method.
- After prolonged stress, the sympathetic nervous system can become hyper-stimulated. Less blood is sent to the uterus and ovaries, impeding optimal functioning.
To enhance fertlity, women must look beyond the physical body, and understand and use the mind-body connection to heal. Please refer to the next menu item, Operation Heal, to obtain additional information.