Cortisol and Infertility

Home > Uncategorized > Cortisol and Infertility

Cortisol and Infertility

There are many factors that play a part in infertility.  Poor diet, irregular menstruation and low sperm count can all be causes of infertility.  However, one of the most overlooked reasons for infertility is the presence of cortisol, the chemical secreted when under stress.

Cortisol and infertility are so closely linked because of the negative effects it has on the body.  When a women is severely stressed her hormones don’t communicate properly with the brain, pituitary gland, and the ovaries.  This leads to disruption of egg maturity and the entire process of ovulation.

Being stressed out causes many other neurochemical imbalances.  These imbalances disturb the ordered hormonal releases whose task is to regulate egg release.  Another role cortisol plays in infertility is the disruption of many chemical communicators recruited by the reproduction process.  The brain and the reproductive tract maintain a direct link.  Therefore, when you’re experiencing high amounts of mental stress, your reproductive system will suffer.  One common reaction of the reproduction system to cortisol is a series of spasms.  These spasms occur in the fallopian tubes and the uterus, and seerely disrupt the egg’s journey to be implanted after fertilization.  The main causes of this are the nervous system’s fibers that connect the brain straight to the uterus and fallopian tubes.

As you can see, increased cortisol levels due to stress can largely affect infertility by changed regulation of pituitary hormones and different actions of the nervous system regarding the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Men are subject to infertility due to stress as well.  When under high amounts of physical or emotional stress cortisol is released into the blood stream.  This release of cortisol directly impacts sperm count, structure, and motility.

These changes can very probably lead to impotence and difficulty achieving ejaculation. Being overly stressed out is a viscous cycle.  Stress usually creates more stress when linked to infertility or other heavily emotional issues.  These dramatic increases in cortisol levels manifest themselves in our mood, and as mentioned reproductive system.  When our reproductive system is severely affected by cortisol and infertility occurs that generates large amounts of stress on top of whatever else we are dealing with.  It is important to try to seek help if you experience either conditions so they don’t continue to build upon one another.

Oftentimes when a woman is incapable of conception she will go into a severely depressed states.  Try to be understanding because she is experiencing bouts of low self esteem, frustration, apathy, and anxiety over not fulfilling her and her partner’s needs.  Men may also go into a form of depression and question their “manhood” which can lead to infidelity and other relationship problems.

Oftentimes these high levels of cortisol coupled with infertility turn sex into a chore, and make it no fun at all.  Be sure to seek help if you and your partner are experiencing any of those feelings.  Talking and good communication are extremely important in solving this problem.