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Explaining the Unexplained

One of the most frustrating diagnoses is unexplained infertility. You have been poked and prodded, and what have they found? Your hormone levels are normal, your tubes are open, your uterus and lining look fine. There is no medical reason for your fertility issues. The doctor might tell you to go home and keep trying; or he might start various medications like Clomid or procedures like IUIs.

But one thing they might not have considered is your stress levels. Stress, unlike FSH or Progesterone, cannot be objectively measured. And unless it reaches a point that clinically present as anxiety or depression, there really isn't much your doctor can do about it. It has only been in recent years that Western Medicine has started to really examine the role stress might play in fertility issues.

What I am about to say may seem like blasphemy in scientific circles which require using hard factual data to draw correlations and cause-effect relationships. However, it is basic common sense which some (i.e, me) might try to pass off as Wisdom.

Anatomically and physiologically speaking, the human body has not changed much in the last 30,000 or more years. Our physiological response to the boss berating us is not all that different from our foremothers' response to being chased by a saber-toothed tiger. In times of war and famine, populations declined as fewer people were born.

The biological fact is, reproduction is a very low priority compared to survival, as demonstrated by our reproductive organs being at the very dead-end of our circulatory system. The stress response: blood moves away from the reproductive systems and into the heart, lungs and limbs, thereby preventing all those sex hormones from reaching their goals; the adrenals pump out cortisol, further disrupting hormonal balance. The result is that your body is not the most hospitable environment for a fertilized egg to implant and develop into a viable embryo.

Chinese Medicine considers this to be "Liver Qi Stagnation." It can manifest in seemingly minor ways such as cold hands and feet, sighing and feeling easily overwhelmed by stress. While Western Medicine might take little head of these symptoms, Chinese Medicine already starts to see a pattern of imbalance which might be contributing to your fertility issues.

Stress may not be the only explanation for unexplained fertility, but it probably is one of them. But of course, I am not going to tell you to "just relax," since a lot of your friends are probably already telling you to do so; you can visit my page on advice for treating stress.