High stress may re­duce fertility in women

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

NEW RE­SEARCH has found that higher stress lev­els may lower a woman’s chance of con­cep­tion, although the same as­so­ci­a­tion was not found for men. Led by re­searchers at Bos­ton Univer­sity School of Pub­lic Health (BUSPH) and pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Epi­demi­ol­ogy, the new study gath­ered data from the Preg­nancy Study On­line (PRESTO), an on­go­ing study which fol­lows Amer­i­can and Cana­dian cou­ples for 12 months or un­til preg­nancy, whichever comes first. The re­searchers looked at 4,769 women aged 21 to 45 years and 1,272 men age 21 and over who did not have a his­tory of in­fer­til­ity and had not been try­ing to con­ceive for more than six men­strual cy­cles. Par­tic­i­pants’ per­ceived stress was mea­sured us­ing a 10-item scale, which has been de­signed to as­sess how un­pre­dictable, un­con­trol­lable, and over­whelm­ing an in­di­vid­ual finds their life cir­cum­stances. The higher the to­tal score, the higher the level of per­ceived stress. The find­ings showed that higher lev­els of stress are as­so­ci­ated with a lower chance of con­cep­tion for women. How­ever, there was no as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween a man’s PSS score and the chance of con­ceiv­ing. On av­er­age, PSS scores at the start of the study were around one point higher among women than men. Women with PSS scores of at least 25 were 13 per cent less likely to con­ceive than women with PSS scores un­der 10, with the link even stronger among women un­der 35 years old and among those who had been try- ing to con­ceive for no more than two men­strual cy­cles be­fore join­ing the PRESTO study than among women who had been try­ing for three or more cy­cles be­fore en­rolling. If higher lev­els of stress are caus­ing lower odds of con­cep­tion, then the re­searchers sug­gest that a small pro­por­tion of this as­so­ci­a­tion could be due to de­creased in­ter­course fre­quency and in­creased men­strual cy­cle ir­reg­u­lar­ity. “Although this study does not def­i­nitely prove that stress causes in­fer­til­ity, it does pro­vide ev­i­dence sup­port­ing the in­te­gra­tion of men­tal health care in pre­con­cep­tion guid­ance and care,” says Amelia Wes­selink, the study’s lead au­thor. – Re­laxnews

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