Q. How is the hypothalamus important to the fertility process?
A. The hypothalamus gland—located at the base of the brain–is the control center for reproductive activity. It is also highly sensitive to stress. When a woman is relaxed, the hypothalamus instructs the body to go into reproductive mode. When a woman is highly stressed, the hypothalamus tells the body to go into survival mode.
We often underestimate our stress levels. We think of stress coming only from our day-to-day issues like money worries or putting in too many hours at work. But a great deal of stress comes from our old issues. An example of this is a woman who has had a miscarriage. That event can cause a great deal of anxiety and fear and often takes some processing to bring those feelings back to manageable levels. Until there is some resolution or closure around the miscarriage, the body will often remain stressed and unfortunately stay in survival mode.