Most couples’ lives revolve around conception and reproduction after a few years together, and as a result, having to face challenges while conceiving can cause emotional and mental stress for both couples. The stress response can be triggered by the psychological state of the individual where infertility is one of the most important life difficulties that can cause psychological stress and the most common psychological disorders among infertile patients are anxiety, depression and stress.
Infertility is defined as infertility if the female partner is under 35 years of age, or if women over 35 years of age are unable to conceive within 6 months of unprotected intercourse within 12 months. IVF patients report higher rates of stress, anxiety and depression than the general population and there are studies that indicate that any type of stress can lower IVF success rates.
Talking about how stress affects fertility, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Mumbai, Dr. Ritu Hinduja explained, “Persistent stress has been shown to sensitize the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which is important for neuroendocrine activities. This can have a detrimental effect on fertility, which can lead to the development of stress, anxiety and depression and thus create a vicious circle. To back up this claim, the time it takes to conceive has been linked to stress in infertile couples.
She added, “Stress itself is not likely to cause infertility, but it does interfere with a woman’s ability to conceive. According to research, women with a history of depression are twice as likely to experience infertility. Anxiety can also prolong the time it takes to get pregnant.”
Giving suggestions on how to manage stress, the health expert highlighted, “Everyone experiences stress from time to time. So, whether you’re stressed at work or worried about a big move, it won’t hurt your ability to have a baby but if your stress lasts for a long time or you’re facing a serious upheaval like unemployment or a death in the family. , your ovulation may be off.”
Dr. Ritu Hinduja reveals, “According to the CDC, one in ten women of reproductive age have difficulty conceiving or having difficulty conceiving. There is usually a physical reason, such as blocked fallopian tubes. But, as months go by without a pregnancy, stress can build up. Studies show stress Even if we don’t show a clear link between treatment and chances of getting pregnant, improving mental health is always a win.”
So, how can you use control over an unexpected event to reduce the potential impact of stress on your fertility? Dr. Ritu Hinduja advises, “Manage your stress levels through exercise, yoga, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, individual and group therapy and mindfulness practices. Since infertility is a common source of depression and anxiety, it is especially important to prioritize mental health help, which Fertility treatments are now readily available.” He recommended:
1. Try to resolve external things that may be causing you stress. Strive for a good work-life balance, make time for friends, and focus on strengthening your relationships if you have them.
2. Get help from your partner – According to a 2018 study, couples who are both emotionally affected by infertility should be receptive to psychological treatment. According to another 2017 study, psychological support for couples receiving fertility treatment can reduce cortisol levels and psychological discomfort, all of which can improve pregnancy outcomes.
She concluded, “Although stress may not directly cause infertility, it can lead to lifestyle factors that make pregnancy more difficult. Aside from the usual stress, you may feel that infertility itself creates great anxiety. To help you feel less stressed, a Consider seeing a doctor. According to research, couples who receive counseling along with IVF treatment have twice as much success as their counterparts who don’t receive therapy. Counseling may not help you get pregnant right away, but it can reduce your stress levels, allowing you to make healthy lifestyle choices that improve your fertility. Benefits health and fertility.”