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Is Stress Zapping your Fertility Hormones

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Is Stress Zapping your Fertility Hormones

Aisling FitzGibbon

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Women are biologically and emotionally different to men. However, as women, we’ve been made to perform in a society that has elevated the masculine at the expense of the feminine. While I acknowledge the incredible work achieved by past generations of women to earn us equal rights, financial empowerment and the freedom to work in areas previously dominated by men, it has come at a price. That price is our health when women are called to work in testosterone fuelled environments whose pace doesn’t suit our natural rhythms.

Stress sends the body the message it’s in danger and in response, cortisol and adrenaline are produced. Now this would be very beneficial if you were being chased by someone in a dark alley because it would give you the fuel to run quicker to get out of danger. When the danger is over the stress hormones would decrease and you'd be able to relax. What's happening with women is their stress hormones are continuing to stay high and this affects their ability to conceive.

Women’s bodies are particularly susceptible to the effects of stress on their sex hormones. Cortisol suppresses ovary function and reduces oestrogen and progesterone secretion. Reproduction is not on the body’s to do list when it's running on stress hormones. The stress could be due to working in a high performance competitive environment where being constantly on high alert is needed to get the job done.  

Some women are crushed from the expectation of having it all. Women are outperforming men at universities but once in the workplace are expected to combine a high-flying career with motherhood. Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a sleep, stress and energy expert, says that her clinic is filled with professional women who are finding it difficult to do everything. This is because the female body has specific needs and rhythms and when these are not met, health problems such as adrenal exhaustion, anxiety, infertility and weigh gain can manifest.  Women are more susceptible to stress levels. It has been proven by scientists at Ohio State University that emotional and physical pressures can double the risk of infertility in women.

How do I know if my cortisol levels are out of whack?

Cortisol levels tend to peak between 6-8 am which helps us to get up in the morning and get going for the day.  However, if you’ve been exhausted and have had trouble sleeping then your levels could be too low in the morning making you feel sluggish and groggy. If during the day you are exposed to stressful events then the adrenal cortex will pump out cortisol in response.

High Cortisol can cause

·        Rapid weight gain

·         High blood pressure

·        Impaired ability to absorb the necessary vitamins and minerals from food

·        Blood sugar imbalances

·        Poor sleep

·        Hormonal imbalance leaving to irregular periods or cessation of periods

·        Cravings for high calorific foods causing weight gain especially around the belly

·        Insomnia, if cortisol continues to remain high at night when it should naturally lower

If the stress response continues then cortisol levels lower.

Low Cortisol can cause  

·       Feelings of exhaustion not relieved by rest

·       Jittery feelings

·       Mood changes & depression

·       Low back ache

·      Chronic inflammation leading to autoimmune disorders

·      Weight loss

·      Poor bladder capacity

·      Cravings for salty foods

·      Infertility as progesterone is now used to make cortisol

How I work

As stress makes it less likely for a woman to conceive, I use my Occupational Therapy skills to teach my clients how to create work life balance to reduce stress levels. I show them how to get in touch with their natural rhythms to optimise their energy levels. The word progesterone means “for gestation” which means that women need this hormone to become  pregnant and to stay pregnant. I offer tailor made nutritional programmes with foods and supplements to support adrenal health and reproductive health.

I help create the pillars of health my clients need to regain their health and fertility. I offer saliva testing to check cortisol levels and solutions to naturally balance these levels. I use the tools of Fragrance Alchemy to help balance the hormonal system and to unblock the emotional stressors that may be contributing to their problems with conceiving.

If you are interested in working with me then please fill in my clarity call application form. I look forward to connecting with you.

Aisling