A Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr. Akinde Joseph, says stress is one of the leading causes of infertility in both males and females.
Joseph, also the Chairman, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Lagos State Chapter, made the assertion in Lagos, on Thursday.
According to him, stress destroys the body without the individual knowing it, causing the body to pump out cortisol almost constantly.
He added that it was also responsible for some ailments like cancers and cardiovascular diseases, among others.
Joseph explained that in stressful situations, cortisol, like adrenaline, pushes metabolism into high gear, saying sustained high levels could raise blood pressure, cause weight gain, or lead to other health problems.
“Elevated cortisol relating to prolonged stress many a time results in the disruption of the normal ovulation and menstrual cycle of a woman, which brings about infertility.
“If eggs are not produced then, the semen has nothing to fertilise.
“Similarly in the male folks, elevated cortisol due to stress can cause erectile dysfunction,” he said.
Joseph explained that cortisol was a steroid hormone, which is normally released in response to events and circumstances in acute stress.
The gynaecologist said, “androgenic sex hormones are produced in the same glands that produce the cortisol; so, excess cortisol production may hamper optimal production of these sex hormones.”
He, however, said that overproduction of this steroid hormone, which was not used for the immediate purpose of responding to danger, results in biochemical and hormonal imbalances.
The expert advised people to ensure that they reduce the stress in their lives, and when overstressed, they should receive stress management therapy.
“Reducing the stress in your life is as important at all levels, as it will not only help your fertility and health but also the quality of your life.
“Everyone gets stressed once in a while. If your stress goes on for a long time or if you are dealing with a major upheaval like unemployment or a death in the family, it might affect your fertility.
“Therefore, your ability to manage, control and react positively to stressors is very necessary,” the expert said.
He cautioned that people should embrace positive ways of reacting to stressful situations.
“When going through a stressful situation, there is only one thing you have control over which is how you react,” Joseph said.
The consultant urged Nigerians to inculcate healthy habits or practices that would help them to reduce stress.