We all know that stress is not good for us, but do we really understand what stress is and would you recognise the symptoms if they were in front of your face?
When you jump down the rabbit hole that is fertility and preconception care, we are very easily sucked into the hormone void. I have lost count of the patients I have seen for fertility where they have been told that on paper, “everything is fine”, go away and come back in 6 months, relax”.
True, your iron, folate and vitamin D may well be ok, your hormones look to be doing what its should be doing, a man’s semen analysis ticks all the boxes and a woman’s cycle may be regular and ‘normal’. For me, these are parts of your jigsaw, but not the full picture. Diet is generally not questioned or discussed, nor is the emotional aspect of what you are going through.
You are NOT just a clump of organs and a systematic machine of hormones, you are a human being, with real emotions and lifestyle considerations that most definitely have an impact on your overall state of health and ultimately, your fertility.
At it’s core, your fertility is essentially your body saying whether or not you are ready and well enough to carry and nourish a baby. Your cycle is not the only consideration. How fertile you are is a measure of your overall health, all things considered.
So often when we are going from appointment to appointment, taking advice, taking supplement, test after test, cutting out gluten and sugar and doing all the ‘right’ things, yet you are still not conceiving.
Let me ask you these questions, how many of these resonate with you……..?
Are you feeling tired, wired, angry, irritable, annoyed, exhausted when you wake in the morning, dizzy, no libido, moody, foggy in the head, putting on weight, feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, suffocating with the weight of it all, feeling like you have lost control of your body, sleep is poor or restless, you wake your self up with caffeine and wind down with alcohol, exercise is intense running or gym work (because, you know, we are supposed to exercise to stay fit right?), headaches, cramps, twitchy eye lids, sugar cravings……. You catch my drift, I could go on….
What I am trying to highlight is that so many of us fall in to this adrenal exhaustion. We have so utterly and completely run our selves down to the point of exhaustion that we are literally in a state of panic and high alert constantly. Your nerves are on edge, your emotions spill over at the drop of a hat and you are damn TIRED.
Lets look at the physiology of what I am on about…
Our adrenal glands produce cortisol and adrenalin, which are distributed over the day to help with alertness and energy. But when we are stressed, anxious or panicked, extra cortisol is released to help the body to “fight” the stress. Cortisol release also leads to glucose release to give the body the energy is requires to “run” (a typical fight/flight response). This process is designed to be short term, to get us out of trouble. But the real trouble is that we are continually under so much stress that the adrenal glands can’t hack the pace and end up throwing in the towel, leading to complete and utter exhaustion, anxiety and poor stress tolerance.
We are all so BUSY, ALL of the time. We rush, we have a million things on our plate, we are always “on”, forever emailing, face booking, messaging. We rarely just sit these days. Even exercise is fast paced.
My advice to everyone trying to conceive is to SLOW down. Make deliberated choices and changes to your life to slow the pace down. Swap running for walking and yoga, switch off the phone every now and then, just be in the moment, be organised to take the rush out of your day and most of all, LISTEN to your body.
Cortisol is made from the same base hormone as your reproductive hormones. TO look at it simply, if your body is busy sending all of the building blocks into producing the cortisol you are demanding, then what is that leaving for reproductive hormone production. More importantly, what message are we sending our bodies?
Your body is hearing “you are too stressed and busy fighting at the moment to stop and produce a human life”.
Don’t stress about being stressed, just hone in your awareness and make some changes and talk to your naturopath about implementing some adrenal and nervous system support.