Research: Stress makes women sterile

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Stress damages the fertility of women

Stress can not only make you sick, it also jeopardizes women's conception, according to a US study. According to the researchers, their chances of getting pregnant decrease if they have a lot of a stress biomarker in their saliva. This even doubles the risk of infertility.

Relationship between stress and conception problems Apparently stress threatens the prospect of pregnancy. A US study shows that high levels of the stress protein alpha-amylase are almost 30 percent less likely to conceive. As the researchers led by Courtney Denning-Johnson Lynch from Ohio State University in Columbus in the journal "Human Reproduction" recommend, women who have problems with pregnancy should consider relaxation techniques. In the past, studies had repeatedly shown a connection between stress and conception problems, but it remained unclear whether the emotional stress was not more a result of the lack of desire to have children. The researchers therefore came up with a new approach to rule out this possibility.

Lower chances of pregnancy The researchers examined 373 women between the ages of 18 and 40 who were trying to become pregnant and who showed no signs of fertility problems. At the start of the study and at the beginning of the first menstruation in the study period, all participants gave saliva samples. This always happened in the morning. The researchers analyzed the saliva for the two stress markers cortisol and alpha-amylase. Compared to women with low levels of the enzyme, those with high amylase levels had a 29 percent lower chance of becoming pregnant each month. They also more than doubled their chances of not being pregnant after one year of unprotected sex. A woman is medically sterile if, despite all efforts, she does not become pregnant over a period of twelve months.

Relaxation techniques for conception problems The researchers found no connection with fertility for cortisol, taking into account other influencing factors such as age or frequency of sexual intercourse. They write: "This study does not give a definitive answer to the causes, but it does provide evidence that stress plays an independent, adverse role." Women should consider relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation when conceiving. In addition, couples should not put themselves under pressure because stress is not the only and not the most important factor influencing pregnancy. Possible reasons for conception problems include, for example, past or unnoticed abdominal inflammation, previous miscarriages or abortions that have caused consequential damage, complications with the use of the spiral, acute illnesses, environmental pollutants, poisoning, improper nutrition and being over or underweight. "Excluding stress factors before trying to conceive could reduce the time from couples to pregnancy," said co-author Germaine Buck Louis of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in Bethesda, Maryland. . "The good news is that women will most likely know which stress reduction strategy works best for them." (Sb)

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