A Boston woman struggled with the heartbreak of infertility for years. The woman’s life changed when her doctor suggested a mindfulness program. The program focused on relaxation using yoga, meditation and behavior techniques. It wasn’t long before the woman was pregnant. That’s not surprising because doctors know there’s a link between stress and fertility.
Many doctors include stress levels in assessments for new fertility patients. According to the CDC, one out of ten women has fertility issues. Doctors assess patients by ruling out physical problems such as blocked fallopian tubes. However, the entire process is very stressful. A recent study showed that a woman dealing with infertility has as much stress as one with cancer.
How Stress Affects Fertility
Stress increases the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body. These are the main stress hormones. Further, stress hormones block the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH.) GnRH regulates the release of sex hormones like estrogen and androgen. As a result, individuals are temporarily infertile.
What Can be Done?
The first thing that must be done is to reduce stress in one’s life. That can be easier said than done. However, relaxation techniques are available to help. Next, figure out how to react differently to stress. There are those who stress so much they can’t sleep at night. This is not good for a woman trying to have a baby. Further, stress can lead to physical problems like high blood pressure.
Techniques to Lower the Stress Level
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used by many women with success. A counsellor helps patients to understand the source of stress. In turn, the client learns new ways to look at situations and cope with stress. Meditation is a quick way to relieve stress. Meditation involves focusing on something relaxing and clearing troubling thoughts from the mind. One can focus on an object or a mantra. A mantra is a calming phrase or word that is repeated to block distractions.
Guided imagery relieves stress for many individuals. One can listen to recordings that describe beautiful, calm images. On the other hand, prayer works for lots of people. Anything that allows the body to surrender and let go reduces stress. Yoga and exercise are also beneficial.
Herbs and Books
Stress causes different types of imbalances in the body. There are several herbs that support the nervous system. For example, Ashwagandha root boosts the endocrine system and stress is dealt with easier. Further, chamomile works as a mild sedative lowering stress levels. There are several books available that teach people how to “turn down the noise” and live in peace. Suggested books include The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Loving What Is by Byron Katie.
Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT do for the mind what acupuncture does for the body. In fact, EFT is based on ancient Chinese medicine. The patient focuses on specific issues while a practitioner taps on the body’s meridian points. These are the same points used in acupuncture. Studies show the tapping technique works as well as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Indeed, EFT can help with infertility and stress at the same time.
There are many ways to relieve stress. That’s important for women struggling with infertility. Try some of these techniques and discover what works for you. Try to visualize the beautiful baby you’ll have 🙂 and turn away negative thoughts.
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