Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Behavioural Therapy Can Restore Ovulation In Infertile Women

Date:
June 21, 2006
Source:
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
Summary:
Fertility can be restored in some women by the use of behavioural therapy, thus avoiding recourse to expensive medicines and complex procedures, a scientist told the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

Fertility can be restored in some women by the use of behavioural therapy, thus avoiding recourse to expensive medicines and complex procedures, a scientist told the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Prague, Czech Republic on Tuesday 20 June 2006. Professor Sarah L. Berga, from the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, said that her work was the first to show that reducing stress through psychological intervention could restore ovulation in women whose ovarian function had previously been impaired.

"Contrary to what had previously been believed", she said, "we found that multiple small stressors that seemingly would have minimal impact on reproductive competence can play a major role in causing anovulation. Up till now it was thought that failure to ovulate was usually caused by the energy deficits induced by excessive exercise and/or undernutrition, but we asked why women undertake such behaviours. Often dieting and exercise are a way of coping with psychosocial stress, and our previous work had shown that such stress is often increased in women who do not ovulate."

Professor Berga and her team set out to study the causes of functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA) in women of normal weight who had not had a menstrual period for more than six months. FHA is caused by a prolonged reduction in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which signals the release into the bloodstream of hormones that simulate ovulation.

Analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid in women with FHA, as opposed to women who were ovulating normally, showed increased levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress. Chronic elevation of cortisol levels heightens the risk for other health burdens, such as depression or osteoporosis, but chronic cortisol increases can often be reversed with behavioural therapy

In a pilot study, Professor Berga's team randomised 16 women with FHA into two groups. One group received cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for 20 weeks; members of the other group were observed. "A staggering 80% of the women who received CBT started to ovulate again, as opposed to only 25% of those randomised to observation", said Professor Berga. "Neither group gained weight nor showed significant changes in their levels of leptin, a hormone involved in regulating body weight and metabolism. This study underlines the important contribution that lifestyle factors play in determining overall health and reproductive health in particular. To reverse stress-induced ovulation, it is not enough simply to address metabolic sources of stress."

Professor Berga told the conference that the recovery of the stress and ovarian axes appears to occur independently of major metabolic changes such as an increase in leptin or thyroxine (a hormone that affects how cells use energetic compounds). Since CBT caused a drop in cortisol and a rise in TSH, it may be that the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, involved in the regulation of metabolism, recovers, but only later.

The current practice in the treatment of anovulatory women is to offer hormonal treatments such as oral contraceptives, if immediate fertility is not desired, or ovulation induction if it is. "Aside from cost, these approaches mask ongoing endocrine disturbance", said Professor Berga. "Since these disturbances pose a risk to overall health, it is important to use a therapy that restores the endocrine system, including the reproductive system. Cognitive behaviour therapy offers a holistic treatment that is safe, cost effective, and easy to implement."

The team now intends to analyse further data from the pilot and to follow with a multi-centre trial involving a large number of women. "If the larger scale study confirms our earlier results," said Professor Berga, "we will have very strong evidence for offering stress reduction as an effective therapy for a significant group of infertile women."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. "Behavioural Therapy Can Restore Ovulation In Infertile Women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060621084306.htm>.
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. (2006, June 21). Behavioural Therapy Can Restore Ovulation In Infertile Women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060621084306.htm
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. "Behavioural Therapy Can Restore Ovulation In Infertile Women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060621084306.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins