Fight or flight – how stress affects sperm

Excessive stress triggers our primal instincts of ‘flight or fight’, supressing our ‘non-essential’ functions, including reproduction. But there are ways to cope…

We all hear how bad stress is for us and, unfortunately, there is some truth in that.

When our stress levels are particularly high, we live in a state of high alert, whereby our body suppresses non-essential functions, including reproduction.

Long-term stress has a detrimental effect on many areas of the body, so it’s important to find a way to manage this, whether you are trying to conceive or not.

The pressure of trying to conceive can be quite immense for a lot of couples and men can find it particularly challenging, especially if the issue sits with them. Many men are left feeling guilty that their partner is having to go through invasive treatment as a result of their sperm issues. Then with little support from the medical profession and the taboo nature of the subject, guys often end up bottling things up with nowhere to turn.

Quite often this pressure and stress can turn in on the relationship and affect things in the bedroom. Guys end up feeling hugely pressured to perform and even feel like they’re just being used for their sperm. For some men this can lead to depression and other mental health issues, so it’s hugely important that guys find somewhere they can talk and get the support they need, as well as practical tips on what they can be doing around their health and stress management.

Top tips for managing stress:

  • Breath – it sounds obvious but relaxing, breathing and meditating work wonders at calming the central nervous system
  • Take time for yourself – whether it’s a hobby, sport or just sitting reading a book; time out just for you is essential
  • Take time for your relationship – It’s all too easy to let life take over. Make sure you have time for the important person in your life. Consider a regular date night
  • Manage your time well – don’t overbook yourself with work and social activities. Make sure you book time out of your diary to actually switch off
  • Exercise – Find some form of regular exercise that works for you
  • Reduce decision fatigue – this is about reducing the number of decisions you have to make in a day e.g. the clothes you wear, the meals you need to cook or the journeys you need to take
  • Planning – A good plan and knowing how your day / week is shaping up alleviates a lot of stress or last minute panicking! A well thought out “to do” list can help here too
  • Switch off devices – Phones, laptops, social media are all insidious stress inducers. Set yourself some boundaries around when you access them and importantly when you turn them off
  • Sleep – Good sleep is at the core of good health and reducing stress levels. This is your time to restore and replenish your body so don’t skimp on this vital part of your wellbeing.

Complimentary therapies, such as acupuncture, are great at managing and alleviating the harmful effects of stress whilst also offering the additional support around diet and lifestyle.

 

COVID-19 Update-July 2020

As of 4th July 2020 I’m returning to practice. If you’d like to book in for a discovery consultation or appointment you can now do so via the online booking. If you’d like to have a chat with me first then don’t hesitate to drop me a line or give me a ring.