Can stress cause infertility? More and more research is confirming the answer to that question is yes, and there are many possible reasons for this answer. When couples are stressed out they are far less likely to have intercourse. They are also much more likely to smoke, drink, take illicit substances and eat poorly. Chronic stress has been shown to decrease regular ovulation and possibly even decrease sperm production in men. New research is even showing that chronic stress can prevent fertilization and interfere with embryo implantation. Thus, we are beginning to realize that stress can affect every step along the way to conception.
So what does it take to reduce the stress contributing to infertility in our patients? That is a question that has perplexed me for years and one that I am committed to answering over the next several weeks. We know that anything that helps to induce relaxation is a good starting point. This includes things such as exercising, reading a good book, getting outside for a long walk, gardening, etc. There are good studies to support things like journaling, getting more sleep, certain yoga poses and even sex can reduce stress. If despite trying all of these ideas stress is still uncontrollable, setting up an appointment with a psychotherapist is definitely a wise choice.
What the NSF Staff Does to Relieve Stress
Here is a sampling of how our staff members relieve stress in their personal and professional lives:
• Anne: Exercising, baking, watching a good movie
• Beth: Taking walks by herself to clear her head as well as cleaning and de-cluttering. Throwing out and cleaning up old baggage makes her feel good and ready for the new in her life.
• Jenny: Exercising and playing with her dogs
• Gina: Gardening
Let us know what you do to unwind and rid yourself of stress!