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The Viscious Cycle of Stress and Infertility
a blog by Jennifer A. Redmond, April 19, 2014
A study published in Human Reproduction that links long-term stress to infertility is making news. And for infertility patients it can be maddening. Stress causes infertility, infertility causes stress... It seems like it’s a viscous cycle.
The study, led by Dr. Courtney Lynch, followed 501 couples for up to 12 months as they tried to conceive. The women’s saliva was tested for measures of stress biomarkers, and results
showed that higher levels of stress are associated with a longer time to pregnancy and an increased risk of infertility.
“It is true that stress can have an effect on fertility, most commonly with ovulatory dysfunction,” says Dr. Lawrence Werlin, Founder and Medical Director of Coastal Fertility Medical Center in Irvine, CA. And, he adds, “There is no question that we live in a very stressful time. Whether financial, political, or personal, these stresses all take their toll. Add to this fertility issues, and stress levels are magnified one hundred fold.”
Werlin recommends stress reduction techniques that will help with overall well-being and your fertility:
- A dedicated exercise program in association with good sleep habits can help improve both physical and mental health.
- Counseling and support groups may be beneficial in allowing you to share your fears and frustrations, which helps to relieve your stress.
- Acupuncture has been clearly demonstrated to reduce stress, improve over all wellbeing, and help with infertility issues.