Career And Infertility- The Close Connection
Middle East Healthcare Intelligence

Written By: snigdha on January 5, 2010

Sometimes, hard work hardly pays. This is especially true if looked at from a woman’s perspective.  This day and age of competitiveness and career consciousness has witnessed the sprouting of a sub species of women called ‘the superwomen’. From attending client meetings to showing up at a friend’s party, from being a terrific boss to a perfect homemaker, the superwoman does it all. While she excels and receives accolades for her feats, she also unknowingly becomes a victim of stress.

Stress is no longer occasional but is rather continuous and acute. Of the cascading and debilitating effects that stress has on various body functions, for a woman, the biggest hit is infertility.  Infertility is an aftermath of stress-induced fluctuations of important hormones in a woman’s body.  These hormones render the female body incapable of reproduction, as is explained in a research study from the University of Utah.

According to Professor Elizabeth Cashdan, an anthropologist at the University of Utah, over-worked women lose female hormone- oestrogen (vital for conception) and gain androgens, which include smale testosterone hormones that are associated with strength, stamina and competitiveness. This hormonal shift causes women to lose their trademark curvaceous ‘hour-glass’ body shape to a straighter figure that is less conducive to childbearing. Could we expect anything different from male hormones?

A change in shape evidently affects a woman’s waist to hip ratio (WHR), a formula derived by dividing someone’s waist circumference by her hip measurement. Women with an ideal WHR of 0.7 (i.e., their waist is 70 per cent of their hip circumference) have been shown to have three times the propensity to get pregnant, thus linking this figure to optimal fertility. One 2004 study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society suggested that women with hourglass figures had about 30 percent higher levels of the female reproductive hormone, estradiol, compared with other body shapes. But when Cashdan analysed the WHR of women from 37 different populations and cultures, she found their average WHR to be above 0.8 – a ratio that makes it harder to conceive. Stress changes how fat is distributed in a woman’s body. Therefore in women working in high-stress environments, stress hormone cortisol moves fat from hips to the waist, thereby making their figures more cylindrical.


Comment from Leslie

Damn – women can’t ever get away from being a victim of something….even of our bodies!  women need to live with the rythym of their hormone cycle and then and only then we will not be victimized by our bodies – nor the pharmaceutical companies who stand on the side lines ready to dole out the drugs.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.