Tips and activities to reduce stress levels, promote better fertility and sexual health
Stress can impair sperm health and sexual function, which can result in infertility. Males with higher levels of stress were more likely to have lower sperm counts and it is a major problem for women's sexual health too. Here are tips and activities to reduce stress levels, promote better fertility
Stress is a major problem that people are neglecting as they are unaware of the health challenges that stress brings, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. It can also lead to mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia along with making it difficult to cope with everyday life and can lead to substance abuse too.
Talking about how stress is now one of the leading factors for problem in sexual health, Nilay Mehrotra, Founder and CEO of Kindly, shared in an interview with HT Lifestyle, “Stress can impair sperm health and sexual function, which can result in infertility. Males with higher levels of stress were more likely to have lower sperm counts, less motility and erectile dysfunction. Stress is a major problem for women's sexual health too. When a woman is stressed, her body produces the hormone cortisol, which can interfere with sexual arousal and sex. Stress can also lead to other sexual problems, such as vaginal dryness and loss of libido. Stress can also make it difficult to reach orgasm.”
According to him, seven activities that can help people reduce their stress are:
1. Walking - There is nothing like a peaceful walk outdoors to help reduce stress levels. Walking has been shown to be an effective form of exercise for reducing stress, and it is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Walking can be done virtually anywhere, and it is a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine. Taking a walk with a friend or family member can also be a great way to catch up and spend some quality time together.
2. Yoga practice - Yoga can help to reduce stress by promoting relaxation and mindfulness. It can also help to increase feelings of well-being and self-acceptance. Yoga may be a good option for you if you're looking for a way to reduce stress.
3. Effective communication - Communication is one of the most important tools in our arsenal when it comes to reducing stress levels. When we communicate effectively, we are able to express our needs and wants clearly, which in turn can help to reduce the amount of stress we feel. In addition, communication can also help to build and maintain relationships, which can provide us with a support network to help us cope with stress.
4. Meditation and controlled breathing - Slow, deep breathing helps to slow our heart rate and relaxes our muscles. Meditation also helps to reduce stress by promoting mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and focusing on our thoughts and feelings without judgement. By being more mindful, we can learn to control our stress response and reduce the negative impact stress has on our lives.
5. Change in diet - While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are certain foods and nutrients that can help promote relaxation and reduce stress such as dark chocolate, chamomile tea, and lavender. It is also important to limit or avoid foods that are known to increase stress levels such as caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods. By making simple changes to your diet, you can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
6. Music and humming - The act of humming can help to release tension in the body, and the music can help to relax the mind. Listening to calming music can also help to slow down the heart rate and breathing, which can further reduce stress levels. If you find yourself feeling stressed, try listening to some music and humming along. It may just help you to feel more relaxed and calm.
7. Prioritise sleep - There are a lot of benefits to getting a good night's sleep, and one of them is reducing stress. When you're well-rested, your body is better able to handle stressors, both physical and mental. That's why it's important to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Not only will you feel more rested and alert, but your body will be better able to handle whatever comes your way. So make sure to get plenty of restful sleep to help reduce stress and improve your overall health and well-being.
Couples who undergo IVF and ART also undergoes a lot of stress. This can further lead to increased difficulty in IVF procedures. According to Dr Kshitiz Murdia, Co-Founder and CEO at Indira IVF, a couple struggling with infertility and planning to have a child is often under a lot of pressure coupled with frustration. He said, “The ardent desire of an offspring often leads to personal strain in intimate relationships. Feelings of depression, anxiety and isolation are common across patients struggling with infertility. All these emotional strains certainly leads to enormous stress and mental pain that might only hamper fertility even further. Furthermore, those who choose fertility treatments such as medication, assisted reproductive technology (ART), in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and its auxiliary therapies may face financial hardship and uncertainty about the procedure's effectiveness which add to the stress.”
He advised, “If someone is struggling with infertility or undergoing fertility therapy, it is important for them not to neglect his/her mental health. One way to solve the problem is to approach the issues with a scientific mind-set and along with seeing a fertility expert, must also adopt some healthy lifestyle habits that could help in reducing the stress level. Going out for a walk, doing small exercises daily and eating healthy diet will definitely allow one to feel physically healthy and mentally active. Listening to good thoughts/ music is a right way of destressing and remain positive. Making such healthy lifestyle changes and choices can play key role in curbing the stress and ensure mental well -being of anyone facing infertility or undergoing its treatment.”
Therefore, we should not neglect issues related to stress in order to live a good lifestyle. Consulting medical experts is advised to ensure proper guidance and treatment to live a stress free life.