The Link Between Mental Health and Fertility
Fertility is often considered a physical issue, however, research has linked mental health with fertility. In recent years, there has been more focus on the importance of couples addressing their mental health before embarking on the journey of trying to conceive. Mental health and fertility are closely intertwined, so understanding how one can effect the other can be an important step in trying to achieve a successful pregnancy.
How Does Mental Health Impact Fertility?
The mental health of both the male and female partner can impact fertility in a few different ways:
- Stress: Research has linked the stress hormone, cortisol, with infertility. Raised cortisol levels can result in decreased fertility in both males and females. The physical and emotional demands of IVF and other assisted reproductive treatments can also add to the stress of trying to conceive.
- Depression: It is well documented that depression has a negative impact on fertility. Depression can change hormone levels and disrupt the menstrual cycle, leading to a decrease in fertility.
- Anxiety: Anxiety can create fear and an overall sense of distress when facing fertility challenges. This can have a negative impact on the body and fertility.
What Can Couples do to Manage Mental Health to Improve Fertility?
- Be Proactive: Seek professional help if you are facing mental health issues before beginning the process of trying to conceive. Mental health professionals can help couples manage the stress, anxiety, and depression associated with trying to conceive.
- Take Time for self-care: It is important to be mindful of both physical and mental health by making time for self-care. Take a break from the demands and pressures of trying to conceive to help reduce stress and manage mental health.
- Communicate openly: Talking about fertility and related emotions with a partner or healthcare provider can provide an outlet for stress and anxiety.
It is important to recognize the importance of mental health when it comes to fertility and take proactive steps to manage it. Couples can experience improved fertility by addressing the connection between mental and physical health, before beginning a journey of trying to conceive.