09 Jul Stress and Fertility
Stress and Fertility
We’re often asked if stress affects fertility. We think so.
Blood Flow is Key to Good Health
In Chinese medicine good blood flow is the key to good health.
Your blood contains the oxygen, nutrients and hormones that your body and its organs and tissues need to function properly.
When your blood flow is strong everything in your body ‘gets fed and watered’ properly so everything has the ‘fuel’ to work as it should.
But when your internal blood flow becomes restricted, this is when trouble starts.
Just image if I was able to turn off an imaginary tap that fed blood to your arm. Your arm would soon be starved of the oxygen, nutrients and hormones it needed and it would start to malfunction – loss of strength, tingling, numbness, shaking, cold….
It’s the same situation anywhere else in your body.
Stress Affects Your Blood Flow & Your Fertility
When you get stressed you get ‘tight’ on the outside (neck and shoulder typically) AND you get tight on the inside (the blood vessels).
Your blood vessels are made of smooth muscle. They can be relaxed and open (good blood flow) or tight and narrow (restricted blood flow). This can affect some organs or all organs depending on the individual.
Constant daily stress leads to chronic vessel restriction, which leads to chronic blood flow problems.
This includes to the organs that most impact your fertility including your liver, kidney, ovaries and uterus.
If these organs are suffering from poor blood flow, this is highly likely to make conceiving and carrying a healthy baby to term more difficult.
Also, poor blood flow contributes to too being too cold, which also impact your body temperatures and fertility.
Stressors trigger a flight or flight response by our body forcing a release of cortisol (which also contributes to weight gain) and adrenaline (which in high volumes is toxic for your liver).
This whole fight or flight response was meant to be triggered occasionally when we found ourselves in a dangerous situation (like being confronted by a tiger in the wild). But today we see the metaphorical tiger every day in work, finances, home life…..
So, we have a fight or flight response every single day.
It’s no wonder poor blood flow and hormonal imbalances are affecting so many women’s fertility.
How Do You Know If You Have Too Much Tension and Poor Internal Blood Flow?
Some typical symptoms include:
- Cold hands and feet
- Painful periods
- Feel tense and irritable
- Bad PMS symptoms
- Endometriosis and PCOS
- Visible blue/purple/green veins on your arms and legs
- Extended blue/purple sublingual veins under your tongue (take a look in the mirror).
These are some typical signs but we get a much more accurate picture by reading your radial pulse.
What Can You Do About It?
There are a number of things you can do which can help a lot.
- Remove or reduce your exposure to the stressors in your life (not always easy or possible though).
- Allocate time daily to destress. Yoga, tai chi, qigong, hard exercise, hobbies and getting out into nature.
- Get acupuncture. Acupuncture triggers a massive release of endorphins (the body’s feel-good hormones) which relaxes you and your vessels to improve blood flow.
- Take Chinese herbs. Specific Chinese herbs both relax you and improve fundamental blood flow to specific areas of your body including your kidneys, liver, ovaries and uterus (all of which are fundamental to your fertility health).
Note: exercise typically doesn’t correct poor internal blood flow. When you exercise your vessels will widen to take the extra blood flow required. But when you are finished, they pretty well go back to where they were. You have to deal with this at a more fundamental organ level.
Without Good Blood Flow You Cannot Fill Your Fertility Cup
In Chinese medicine theory to conceive and carry a healthy baby to term your health needs to be strong.
Good blood flow is required for this.
And stress affects blood flow.
So in our experience, stress and fertility are definitely related.