Stress and Infertility: What’s the Connection and How to Deal With It?
Infertility is a reproductive health problem that makes a couple unable to produce a child even after having frequent, timed, and unprotected physical intimacy for 6 months to a year. It is a global issue and millions of couples suffer from it. As per a 2020 WHO report, approximately 48 million couples and 186 million individuals across the globe live with infertility.
As per experts at an IVF hospital, infertility occurs to both – males and females. It affects couples due to several physical & reproductive health issues, lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors. Females with ovarian disorders, damaged/blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, uterine abnormalities, etc. have fertility problems.
On the other hand, males with abnormalities in sperm production, penile erection issues, interruption in sperm transfer, or ejaculation issues are infertile. Couples who smoke, drink, live a highly comfortable life, or have exposure to heat & industrial chemicals are at a higher risk of infertility. Further, couples who are over 35 face fertility problems.
What is the connection between infertility and stress?
Usually, stress alone does not cause infertility in couples. However, it can interfere in the ability of a couple to become parents. Stressed couples do not make love frequently to each other. They lose interest in sex. Here, stress can be a cause of infertility.
Several medical studies have found that infertility and stress have an internal connection. As per a 2017 study of the National Library of Medicine, approximately 40% participants of infertility treatment had anxiety and depression. Their stress was about the uncertainty of on-going infertility treatment.
Another 2014 study of the National Library of Medicine states that stressed couples have around 29% lower chances of conception. Studies have shown that stress management facilitates couples to have successful infertility treatments and become parents of a child.
How to deal with stress of infertility?
Stress is manageable. By making a few changes, you can easily manage your stress and move ahead to have a successful parenthood journey. Here are some useful tricks to manage your stress related to infertility:
- Educate yourself – As a couple, you should try to educate yourself on infertility. While educating yourself, focus on normal responses and what you need to do to cure your issue or come out of the situation you have. You can talk to couples who have gone through infertility and consult fertility specialists to discuss what can help you to deal with your issue.
- Communicate – Communication is a key to sort out any issue. Both of you should communicate well and try to comprehend what feelings you have and what your needs are. Be calm and in a relaxed mood while talking to each other. Discuss the differences you have, avoid having conflicts, and talk positively about how to come out of the situation you have. If required, ask your friends, family members, and relatives for support.
- Practise relaxation techniques – To get rid of stress, you need to practise relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and listening to progressive music. Further, you can engage yourself in the activities or hobbies that make you feel lighter and happier. Gradually, you will get rid of your anxiety and stress.
- Deal with sexual stress – Sexual stress is common among infertile couples. You need to come out of it. And for this, take physical intimacy as fun, have a clear difference between function and fun, and maintain a distance in your personal life and professional life.
- Take proper care of your health – While having infertility treatment, it is essential for you to take care of your health. Ensure that you are having a healthy and balanced diet every time, sleep well, exercise regularly, and have time for recreation.
- Have a positive attitude – Having infertility treatment such as IVF or IUI is really a tough time for you. And the time you have is uncertain. So, talking about being positive might be funny. However, you need to be positive and stay positive. Negativity or negative thinking will cause more problems to you while positivity brings hope in you. Instead of being down or stressed, you should trust in your doctors and the techniques, and support. These all will facilitate you to come out of this tough time.
Stress and infertility have an internal connection. Stress does not make you infertile. It makes you lose your interest in love making that can make your infertility worse or have no success in infertility treatment. You need to manage your stress and enjoy your life. Educating yourself, communication, relaxation techniques, positive attitude, and taking care of health can help you manage your stress easily.