Barbara Poczyniak, R.Ac, Registered Acupuncturist & Arvigo®Therapy Practitioner
Let's talk about stress and your fertility. In my practice one of the most common areas to address when helping women with fertility challenges is having them identify the level of stress in their lives. In this article we'll cover:
1. Assessing your stress
2. The impact of stress on fertility
3. Stress and ovulation
4. Acupuncture and Arvigo® Therapy for Fertility
Assessing your Stress
A certain level of stress is required in life - it helps us "get things done" and is an essential trigger for self preservation. But for so many of us higher levels of stress have become a part of life, and regularly steal time away from our much needed 'rest and digest' mode.
When we think of stressful times in our lives, typically what comes to mind may be 'high stress' events such as exams, work layoffs or a bad breakup. Although these may be occasional events, lots of other stressful things sneak up on us on a daily basis. The problem is that for most of us its not possible to walk away from what is constantly stressing us out.
Long morning commutes, traffic congestion, piles of housework or bills and even an overflowing email box can push our buttons over and over again throughout the day. Subtle stress has also been show to build up from our growing use of electronic screens, and for some of us the constant need to be updated leads to stress as well.
Check in with your own stress levels. Consider how stress manifests in your life, how often and for how long. What common signs of stress show up in your life? This can look different for everyone.
How does stress affect fertility?
Although high stress levels have not yet been conclusively proven to affect fertility, women (and their partners) who are experiencing fertility challenges certainly have been known to have higher levels of stress. A doctor's diagnosis of unexplained infertility or other issues that may affect fertility can increase stress levels as well, even if it is subconsciously. For women who are going through IVF, the program's schedule of visits, tests and procedures can also raise stress to a whole new level.
Is ovulation affected by stress?
Chronic stress levels can affect healthy ovulation by interfering with progesterone production. One of progesterone's many functions is to maintain pregnancy. It is required to nourish the uterine lining, preparing it for the fertilized egg to implant. Progesterone and the stress hormone Cortisol are made from the same precursor hormone (pregnenolone). Although cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland, it cannot be made without pregnenolone.
When a woman's body is in an ongoing state of chronic stress, the constant "fight or flight" signals lead to a surge in cortisol production that is often at the expensive of progesterone production. This is actually referred to as the "pregneolone steal", where stress is usually the main thief behind the process.
Acupuncture and Arvigo® Therapy
Improving fertility through Acupuncture and Arvigo® Therapy puts the general focus on re-storing balance and boosting circulation to the reproductive system, but I find one of the mot important side benefits of both therapies is the potential for stress relief.
Studies have shown that acupuncture can act to normalize stress levels by regulating the stress-induced increases of blood level cortisol. Acupuncture has also been linked to an increase in our body's production of endorphins.
The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® focus on restoring and balancing the flow of nourishing fluids and energy to the reproductive and digestive systems. Focusing on the lower abdomen area (the uterus and ovaries) and upper abdomen, this therapy helps to release any tension or restricted breathing. A professional Arvigo Therapy session includes a demonstration of the self care techniques. The self care aspect of this therapy gives clients the tools to practice a relaxing and beneficial technique on their own, whenever they need to.
Are you or someone close to you struggling with infertility? Have questions how Acupuncture and Arvigo® Therapy can help with infertility or other stress related issues? We're here to help. Contact me for a complimentary consultation or to book a visit here: Contact & Locations.
DISCLAIMER: Please note the content on this website is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, nor is it meant to diagnose or treat a health problem, symptom or disease. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication, nutritional supplement or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website. Information provided on this website does not create professional relationship between you and Vital Bloom Wellness or Barbara Poczyniak.
Hi, I'm Barbara Poczyniak. Registered Acupuncturist practicing in Toronto.