Stress + Infertility

In the U.S., infertility affects 1 in 6 couples.  However, it’s a topic that’s rarely discussed. Those of us who plan on having a family often grow up believing that getting pregnant is just the next step after getting married. Unfortunately,  we often don’t realize it’s not always that easy.

About 10% of women (ages 15-44) in the U.S.  have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

One thing I have noticed among women with infertility (or struggling to conceive) is they are excellent multi-taskers. Their schedules are jam-packed and they’re always on the go, scratching off the next task on their list of to-dos. They never stop. Their nervous systems are working overtime to continuously try to adapt to each new stress as it arises. It’s as if their foot is on the gas pedal all day long, with little to no tapping on the brake.

What does this mean? Your nervous system is composed of 3 parts: sensory (that’s why chiropractic is known to be great for pain), motor (nerves that control muscle function/performance and thus, why professional athletes use chiropractic), and the autonomic side.

Your Nervous System is Your Body’s Stress Response System

The autonomic nervous system works similarly to your computer’s operating system. It’s the portion that you can’t feel, but don’t have to consciously think about (good thing since it controls heart rate, breathing, etc.). It also coordinates the entire body’s response to stress. It maintains a delicate balance between our stress mode or “fight or flight” response (gas pedal), and our rest or “growth and development” mode (brake pedal).

Generally, your body should be able to ebb and flow between stress mode (gas pedal) and rest mode (brake pedal). If our body is constantly exposed to stress on a daily basis, we lose this balance and tend to get stuck with our foot on the gas. Dr. Bruce Lipton states that “you can’t be in growth (development) and protection at the same time”. The nervous system then turns its focus on survival and away from the systems that aren’t necessary when a “threat” occurs – such as the reproductive system.

This then leads to a disruption of proper hormone regulation, ovulation and reproductive function. Have you ever experienced a computer slow down or not be able to complete a simple task due to too many applications(stress) open? It’s a similar reaction within the body – the body becomes overwhelmed by stress, that it turns its attention away from the systems that aren’t necessary for survival – reproduction, immune, and digestion, for example.

Tap the Brakes

At our office, our first goal is to objectively measure where stress is affecting the nervous system. This allows us to be highly specific in the care that we provide to our patients. By reducing this stress, we reduce the surge of stress hormones and allow the body to restore its normal balance. By “tapping the brakes”, we can restore the “growth and development” side, allowing for optimal reproductive function.

If you are currently experiencing infertility or want to be prepared as much as possible for conception, checking the performance of your nervous system is essential. Let us support you in the best way we know how, and together, we can create a plan for optimal health. Most importantly, know that you are not alone.

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