The Emotional Repercussions of Infertility

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photo courtesy of infertility.about.com and Paul Bradbury/Getty images

When a couple is trying to conceive a baby, it can be a thrilling time in their lives.  However, as months continue to go by with no pregnancy, the hope and excitement can turn to stress and anxiety.  While couples may know that infertility is possible, actually dealing with it can result in an unexpected emotional roller coaster.  It is not unusual for one or both partners to experience the following:

  • A sense of loss and disappointment
  • Physical symptoms of depression or grief, such as headaches, low energy, irritability, inability to concentrate, extreme sadness, and insomnia
  • Denial or numbness
  • Anger
  • Jealousy towards those who are able to get pregnant easily
  • Feelings of inadequacy, guilt, or shame

Unfortunately, infertility can also put a huge strain on a couple’s relationship, as each person struggles to cope with their own feelings.  Each may have a fear that their partner will leave them to have a child with someone else.  Couples undergoing fertility treatments may experience financial strain, or find they are not in agreement about which options they are willing to try.  Furthermore, after endless attempts at trying to conceive, having sex can feel less like fun and more like a chore, adding additional emotional difficulties.

If you are experiencing infertility, the most important thing you can do as a couple is to keep the lines of communication open and be totally honest about what you are feeling.  Take time for each other, and do not let infertility become the entire focus of your existence.  Make it a point to find fun activities you can do together to help release some tension and relax.  Finally, if you are experiencing any of these emotional issues, please know that you are not alone, and that professional help is available to you both as individuals and as a couple.

 

Sources:

http://www.resolve.org/support/Managing-Infertility-Stress/emotional-aspects.html

http://infertility.about.com/od/copingwithinfertility/a/copestress.htm

Clear Skin without Hormones

photo credited to whitneysociety.com

photo credited to whitneysociety.com

In previous postings, we have discussed how doctors are very quick to prescribe birth control pills to women suffering from acne, without considering the potential for harmful side effects to the patient’s body due to the introduction of artificial hormones.  The risks of taking hormonal birth control include liver and gallbladder disease, migraines, hypertension, depression, and more.  Thankfully, clear skin can be achieved without the use of birth control pills.  Read on to learn some simple strategies for obtaining the beautiful skin you desire.

First, there are several foods which can have an impact on your skin health.  For example, Brazil nuts, which are rich in selenium, increase skin elasticity, and walnuts, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, lower skin inflammation and decrease breakouts.  Macadamia nuts contain oils and fatty acids with skin repairing properties.  Foods such as watermelon, which are rich in lycopene, reduce redness and damage caused by the sun.  Red grape skins contain a strong antioxidant known as resveratrol, which fights wrinkles, lines, and sagging caused by other environmental irritants.  On the other hand, dairy products should be avoided, as they contain cow hormones that stimulate your oil glands.

Next, make sure things that are touching your face on a regular basis are kept clean.  Makeup brushes used to apply loose powder should be washed every two to three weeks, and brushes which apply foundation should be washed once per week in a mixture of lukewarm water and gentle facial cleanser.  Additionally, you should wipe down the front of your cell phone with an antibacterial wipe a few times each day.  This will keep unwanted dirt and bacteria away from your pores.

Finally, it bears repeating that one of the most important things you can do for your skin is to wear sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection every day year-round.  This can greatly reduce your risk of a broad range of skin ailments, from wrinkles to cancer.

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/birth-control-for-acne-treatment?page=2

http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/beauty-style/skin/108/30-easy-tips-for-glowing-skin/

 

How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

photo credited to fitsugar.com

photo credited to fitsugar.com

According to Prevention Magazine, regardless of if they have children or not, women tend to get less sleep than men overall, due to fluctuating estrogen.  During both menstruation and menopause, levels of estrogen, which helps promote sleep, are lower in the body.  Furthermore, symptoms associated with lowered estrogen, including headaches, cramps, and hot flashes, all do their part to interrupt a good night’s sleep.  Prevention offers several suggestions for combatting this issue.

  • While it may sound simple, researchers say the most important thing you can do to improve your sleep is to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, including weekends. This puts your body’s internal clock on a routine, which will result in better rest.  If you are having a difficult time accomplishing this, try keeping a sleep diary in which you record these times to hold yourself accountable.
  • Quitting smoking can dramatically improve how well you are sleeping at night.  Researchers say smokers are 4 times more likely to not feel rested after a night’s sleep than non-smokers.  This is likely due to the amount of the stimulant nicotine in their bodies.
  • Keep in mind that when you exercise, your body temperature will stay elevated for approximately 4 hours.  Since this is not conducive to sleep, you should plan your gym visits accordingly.
  • Pay attention to the beverages you drink.  First, caffeinated beverages are a stimulant and can keep you awake at night, so they should be avoided after 2 p.m. each day.  Next, because your body actually wakes up as it finishes metabolizing alcohol, you should stop drinking alcoholic beverages at least two hours before your bedtime.  Instead, pour yourself a glass of warm milk, as research has shown it can aid in inducing sleep.

If you do wake up in the middle of the night, doctors recommend that as long as you are comfortable, you should stay in bed and perform deep breathing exercises to help you relax and fall back to sleep.

Things that make you feel Tired or Sluggish

photo courtesy of madamenoire.com

photo courtesy of madamenoire.com

Fatigue is certainly a common symptom of pregnancy, but if you know you are not pregnant and are feeling unusually sluggish anyway, you may be uncertain what to do.  First and foremost, if you are not feeling well, it is important to contact your physician and schedule an appointment.  While discussing things with your doctor, he or she may bring up some of the following common causes of fatigue.

1)      Dehydration– The average adult human body is comprised of 50-65% water, and this liquid is vital to keeping things functioning as they should.  Moderate dehydration can actually result in a loss of three percent of your total body weight, which can make you feel lightheaded as well as impact your ability to concentrate.

2)      Cell Phones and Tablets– Technology has made it so simple for us to check our e-mail, perform a quick internet search, or watch a funny video anytime of the day or night. However, you should consider keeping your bedroom a gadget-free zone.  Using your cell phone or tablet before bed increases your brain activity, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Once you are asleep, these very same gadgets could wake you up again with their ringing and beeping.

3)      Medication– Be sure to bring a full list of the medications and herbal supplements you are taking, along with their dosages, to your appointment.  Your doctor can let you know if any of them have the side effect of decreasing your energy level.

4)      Gym Habits– Working out has the benefit of reducing the amount of cortisol, a stress-producing hormone, in your body.  However, if you perform aerobic exercise for too long, your body will actually ramp up cortisol production instead.

5)      Iron Intake– In order for oxygen to move around your body efficiently and eliminate waste from your cells, you need at least 18 milligrams of iron per day.  Without it, you can develop what is known as iron deficiency anemia, which manifests itself through fatigue.

Fertility Awareness and Your Sex Drive

Photo from iStockPhoto.com via About.com

Photo from iStockPhoto.com via About.com

While you may not realize it, everyday life stresses can greatly impact your libido. Below are just a few of the ways in which they may do so:

  • Your body’s natural reaction to stress– When you feel stressed, your body will go into what is known as a “fight or flight response,” releasing cortisol and adrenaline into your blood.  If this happens to you on a regular basis, you can develop the condition of chronic stress, which interferes with the hormones in your body particular to your sexual response.
  • Your busy lifestyle– In the world today, everyone finds themselves juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. Trying to balance work and parenting with chores leaves very little time for recreational activities.  As a result, your busily working mind and very tired body will have a difficult time getting in the mood for sex.
  • Relationship stress– This is perhaps the most vicious cycle of all.  Relationship conflict can cause stress, which leads to additional circumstances causing more stress, leaving no room for your body to charge up its libido. Ironically, low libido can, in and of itself, be a major cause of relationship stress, and arguing about it can make a couple want to have sex even less.

Unfortunately, infertility is a major cause of stress in relationships. Working through such issues often involves feelings of grief, loss of control, loss of self-esteem, financial strain, and sexual pressure.  But what if you were able to reach a place where you felt fully in control of your fertility awareness?  With the stress of the unknown behind you, you would be empowered and feel free to be an open and loving sexual partner.  With Lady-Comp, an intelligent fertility monitor that learns, analyzes, and indicates your fertile days with 99.3% accuracy based on your daily body temperature and data you provide, you can start to take control of your sex life today.

 

Sources:

http://stress.about.com/od/sex/a/low_libido.htm

http://www.cchs.net/health/health-info/docs/0800/0810.asp?index=4332

Photo from iStockPhoto.com via About.com

Menstrual Cycle Positives

When women discuss their menstrual cycle, it is usually about some negative aspect of it.  After all, the start of your period brings on a full range of emotion, from the discomfort of premenstrual syndrome to the disappointment of not being pregnant.  While your monthly cycle is all too often unwelcome, we would like you to consider the ways in which it can be used to your benefit.

In previous postings, we have discussed how estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone fluctuate in your body throughout your cycle.  By tracking your cycle and being attuned to your body, you can schedule certain tasks on days when your body’s hormones will give you optimal performance.  Below you will find some examples of ways you can maximize your menstrual cycle.

  • You can make the most of exercising on days when your estrogen levels are lower,
    photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

    photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

    which is typically days 4-11 in a 28 day cycle.  At this time, you will find high-intensity exercise easier, resulting in lower breathing and heart rates throughout.  This is because the decreased estrogen allows for more efficient burning of the glycogen in your body, which provides quick energy.

  • Many women report feeling more creative when they are menstruating, which would be the result of the calm brought on by the drop in estrogen and progesterone levels. If you are a writer, artist, craftswoman, etc., you may find this time to be very productive for you.
  • In her book, “The Optimized Woman: If You Want to Get Ahead, Get a Cycle,” author Miranda Gray posits that women’s skillsets change throughout their monthly cycle, and describes how awareness of this can increase productivity and effectiveness in the workplace. Gray states that abilities that you will find heightened at various times of the month include logical reasoning, strategic planning, critical analysis, team building, project initiation and management, and outside of the box thinking.

Have you noticed times in your cycle where your abilities are heightened?  Tell us more in the comments below.

Sources:

http://www.womentowomen.com/pms-menstruation/reverse-the-curse-benefits-of-your-period/

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/understanding-your-menstrual-cycle-109611

http://www.optimizedwoman.com/women-business-take.html

photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk

How to Feel Sensual When You Have Small Children

photo courtesy of www.dailymail.co.uk

photo courtesy of www.dailymail.co.uk

When you have small children to care for, it can be extremely challenging to find time for a sex life.  Not to mention that changes in your body, coupled with sheer exhaustion, can leave you feeling less than attractive.  With all you are juggling, if you notice your partner looking at you, you might be more likely to assume there is a spot of dried-up formula on your shirt than you would be to think they are looking for a zesty session in the bedroom.  If this sounds familiar, read on to find some suggestions on reigniting your sexual spark.

  • Have realistic expectations for yourself.  You may someday return to your pre-baby weight, or you may not, and you should know that both scenarios are OK.  Throw away that lingerie catalog and steer clear of other air-brushed media imagery that can give you a negative body image.
  • Dress the part.  Chances are you didn’t change into grubby clothes the second you got home from work before you had a baby, and you shouldn’t do so now.  Invest in some comfortable loungewear that shows off your shape, such as camisoles and leggings.
  • Exercise regularly.  Physical activity not only helps you lose weight and reduce stress; it releases powerful endorphins that will leave you feeling sexy and strong.
  • Take some time for yourself.  Go to the spa for a massage, manicure, pedicure, and/or a bikini wax.  Doing so will make you feel more relaxed, boost your confidence, and remind you of the importance of self-care.
  • Light some candles.  Studies have shown that candles scented with vanilla, musk, ginger, peppermint, ylang ylang, and nutmeg can be aphrodisiacs.  Additionally, candlelight itself brings a figure-flattering and cozy glow to the room.

What methods have you used to invigorate your sex life? You can share by posting in the comments below.

 

Sources:

http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/advice/get-your-sexy-back

http://voices.yahoo.com/6-sexiest-candle-fragrances-will-heat-11494898.html

photo courtesy of http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Yoga and Your Menstrual Cycle

Yoga is a spiritual science founded in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.  It is a series of women-doing-yogaphysical postures, varying in difficulty level, which help you become more in tune with your body and at peace with your surroundings.  Yoga has become extremely popular in the United States due to its dual purpose of helping you get fit while also calming your mind.  For women, yoga can play a positive role in various aspects of your menstrual cycle.

  • PMS Relief– Yoga can be used for the wide variety of symptoms that accompany premenstrual syndrome.  First, it boosts circulation, which can relieve the buildup of fluid that causes bloating.  Next, the focus on deep breathing increases oxygen flow to your tissues, which eases uncomfortable cramping.  Finally, yoga requires focus, which, if nothing else, will take your mind off how you are feeling for a blissful period of time.  Poses to try include child’s pose, cat pose, and bridge pose.
  • Fertility– While yoga is not a direct treatment for infertility, it has elements which can be helpful to a woman struggling with fertility issues.  First, it helps to increase blood flow in the pelvic area.  Next, it helps those practicing it achieve tranquility.  This is important because the stress that occurs in most people experiencing infertility can only exacerbate the issue further.
  • Regulating Hormones– Yoga works by pressurizing and depressurizing specific glands in your body, and in doing so, can help regulate your hormonal secretions.  Therefore, the regular practice of yoga has a positive impact on your endocrine system.  As a result, yoga can help you decrease hot flashes brought on by menopause, boost your libido, improve memory, eliminate good cravings, reduce and manage pain, combat fatigue, lower anxiety, decrease mood swings, lower depression, balance your thyroid, and much more.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.active.com/a3_articles/7aac0f15-c7f9-4a14-8d12-c48b96addafb/1?page=1

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/04/26/for-women-trying-to-conceive-fertility-yoga/

http://www.ageology.com/top-25-reasons-to-do-yoga-for-hormonal-health/

Baby Making vs. Love Making

Is there a difference between “baby making” and “love making?” Ask a woman who just began the conceiving journey, and she’d more than likely say “no.” But, ask a couple who has been trying for quite some time, and their answer might be the exact opposite! When you are trying to conceive, baby making and love making may begin to seem like two very different things! Continue reading

How to Decrease Stress to Increase Fertility

Couples struggling with fertility issues have heard the saying a million times: “Relax. It’ll happen.” That may seem like a great idea, but relaxing isn’t always easy. Stress is a part of our body’s fight-or-flight mechanism. It raises adrenaline levels and increases heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. Sometimes stress can be positive. It can initiate change, help us focus on the task at hand, and in some cases save our lives. Yet, when stress builds up, it can actually keep us from concentrating, cause illness and inhibit fertility. Here are a few ideas on to how bring your stress levels down.

Continue reading