Can anxiety cause infertility?

Dr Madiha Munawar 01:44 PM | 28 Apr, 2017
Can anxiety cause infertility?
Honestly, infertility definitely is directly proportional to anxiety.

Anxiety has been linked to infertility, and while anxiety can't make someone permanently infertile, it appears that it can decrease the likelihood of pregnancy.

Anxiety and stress in these patients equal that of patients with cancer. Studies show that stress may negatively affect the conception rate and that stress reduction may improve it. The inability to conceive while all around seemingly everyone else does so successfully often leads to frustration, depression, and anger. Such stress may strain the marriage, wreak havoc in a sexual relationship, and adversely affect work performance. Patients with infertility often overlook the fact that the natural conception rate per cycle in humans is at best 20-25 percent.

Women feel their time slipping away. The baby clock is ticking loudly. They are acutely aware that each menstrual cycle that comes means they are not pregnant. Many feel like a failure, and it brings them closer to not having any eggs left and being irrevocably infertile.

Each period is not only a reminder that they are not pregnant but also a reminder that they are getting older and closer to menopause. My patients typically obsess over every detail of their cycle. Generally under acupuncture and herbal treatment you do see an improvement in a woman's menstrual cycle. Their cycles become more regular, less clotty dark blood, there is less PMS and cramps/pain. But the human body is not a machine and while steady improvement can be seen at times, it does not always happen that way. Some cycles are worse or there is no improvement.

Most of the time, the first cycle a woman has after starting acupuncture is dark, heavier, clothier and sometimes more painful. Besides this, my patients' lives are not regular, they go on vacation, eat and drink too much over holidays, go on business trips, have stressful things happen in their work and family lives. All of these things have an impact on your menstrual cycle. They also have an impact on your sleep. However having a bad night's sleep because you drank or ate too much makes it much easier to see the causal relationship from act to consequence, and you only have to wait until that next night to see change or improvement. To see change or improvement in a menstrual cycle you have to wait a whole month. The link between cause and effect (lifestyle/diet changes) is too long to easily make a direct link in your patient's mind. Again that is 30ish days to worry about and overanalyze every little detail, which leads to increasing anxiety.

What exactly is anxiety? According to the Free Dictionary's medical section: "Anxiety is a multisystem response to a perceived threat or danger." In other words, the root of anxiety is fear, a fear that you will not be able to protect yourself. In the case of my patients, their fear is multi-faceted.

"With this relatively newfound freedom, woman has flocked to the workforce. They have dedicated themselves to building their careers. They are fulfilling their own considerable personal and individual potential. But like every choice in life, there are always consequences."

One big fear is that they have made a mistake and put off having a child and now it's too late. The generation of women now in their late 30s early 40s were raised on the empowering messages of feminism and equality. They rightly believe that they can do anything they set their mind to. They can be CEOs, astronauts, screenwriters and carpenters. They hopefully believe, that if they want to do something, that if they work hard enough they can do it. It is the American dream.

With this relatively newfound freedom, woman has flocked to the workforce. They have dedicated themselves to building their careers. They are fulfilling their own considerable personal and individual potential. But like every choice in life, there are always consequences. The consequences these women are facing is that their reproductive systems don't function as well as they did 10 years before, and their eggs are ageing along with them. This is another way of saying it is now harder for them to give birth to a healthy child.

Some of you might read into my words as a subtle message that I believe women should not be in the workforce and should be at home pregnant and in the kitchen. While it is true that I found my wife very sexy while she was pregnant, that is not the point. I feel for my patients. I see their struggles and I want to help them. I see some of them openly confronting the myth that you can have it all, whenever you want it. The consequences of that ideal is a slightly darker side of the American dream. We run smack into the cult of "me," that just because you want it, you have a right to it.

How should stress be addressed?

Any stress-reduction strategy may be beneficial. Exercise, Yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, spiritual counselling, psychological counselling- all these might improve one’s outlook and reduce adverse psychological effects. Infertility support groups, where available, are also helpful. One has to be cautious, however, about shared information, either in person or via the Internet. In each couple, infertility factors are different and what applies to one may not apply to another. Taking a break from infertility treatment is often advised when stress becomes unbearable. This is particularly welcome in younger individuals for whom age is not yet a factor in the success rate. It is important for the physician to set limits and guidelines as to the extent and duration of treatment. A well-defined plan that outlines the type of treatment, the number of treatment cycles, and the alternatives, should be discussed with the patient early in the process and reiterated later. The patient should be assertive and ask questions, as well as express his or her anxiety to the physician or his staff. Bottling feelings inside may only lead to additional stress and frustration. The patient should be notified early that if he or she wishes to discuss alternatives or change the intensity of treatment, they should do so without hesitation. Infrequently, anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications are prescribed.

stress may be work related and relationship related, but in many cases it's actually related to the stress that men and women place on themselves to conceive, and the longer they try the more that stress can increase, thereby increasing the likelihood of further infertility.

There are so many different fertility tools these days that work extremely well, and seeing what the doctor says and what's available is important.

But let's assume that anxiety is causing your infertility. How can you reduce anxiety so that you're more likely to conceive? The answer is fairly complicated and related to what's going on in your life, but strongly consider the following:

Have Fun and Make Love - Your lovemaking plays a role in your anxiety. It's great to keep to a calendar, but intimacy is also important for simply enjoying yourself, and making sure that you're engaged with your partner and enjoying yourselves. Lovemaking shouldn't be something you do as a chore because once you take that anxiety reduction tool away you're left with one less way to stay relaxed and enjoy the moment.

Planning Fun/Distracting Activities - When anxious, the human mind becomes your enemy. While stress can make you feel like you want to be alone, the reality is that anxiety causes thought processes to err towards the more negative thought. So making sure that you're keeping to a busy schedule and out having fun with friends and family is actually very important for anxiety reduction, relaxation, and ultimately conception.

Avoiding the Date - Often this is easier said than done, but you should also make sure that you're not creating an arbitrary timetable to get pregnant. Pregnancy isn't something you can rush, nor is it something you need to rush. Try to simply enjoy yourselves and see what happens while following your doctor's advice.

Each therapy that is offered, therefore, should be repeated several times (usually 3-4) in order to give ample opportunity for successful conception. One should keep in mind, though, that repeated failures to conceive might generate more stress, which by itself may be harmful.

At the end, again the matter is vice versa.

Trying to soothe oneself, usually, end up with the fruitful pregnancy.

Dr Madiha Munawar

The writer is a Lahore-based doctor. She can be reached at


Today's currency exchange rates in Pakistan - Dollar, Euro, Pound, Riyal rates on May 29, 2023

KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on May 29, 2023 (Monday).

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 307.9 311.15
Euro EUR 330 333
UK Pound Sterling GBP 381 384.5
U.A.E Dirham AED 84.6 85.4
Saudi Riyal SAR 82.6 83.4
Australian Dollar AUD 201 203
Bahrain Dinar BHD 762.21 770.21
Canadian Dollar CAD 225.5 227.5
China Yuan CNY 40.6 41
Danish Krone DKK 41.39 41.78
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 36.6 36.95
Indian Rupee INR 3.47 3.58
Japanese Yen JPY 2.15 2.20
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 932.2 941.2
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 62.42 63.02
New Zealand Dollar NZD 176.98 178.98
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.14 26.44
Omani Riyal OMR 744.58 752.57
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 78.73 79.43
Singapore Dollar SGD 215 217
Swedish Korona SEK 26.73 27.03
Swiss Franc CHF 316.34 318.84
Thai Bhat THB 8.28 8.43

Today's gold rates in Pakistan – May 29 2023

KARACHI - The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs 235,800 on Monday. The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs202,160.   

Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs163,624 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs 190,880.

Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Karachi PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Islamabad PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Peshawar PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Quetta PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Sialkot PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Attock PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Gujranwala PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Jehlum PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Multan PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Bahawalpur PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Gujrat PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Nawabshah PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Chakwal PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Hyderabad PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Nowshehra PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Sargodha PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Faisalabad PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505
Mirpur PKR 235,800 PKR 2,505


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