Anxiety is a generalized fear-like condition that is a result of potential menace anticipation or overreaction to a situation subjectively seen as stressful. In difference to a fear, it is not referential to some specific dangerous stimuli. Anxiety is a future-focused negative mood state of uneasiness and fussiness that is accompanied by body symptoms such as increased heart rate and muscle tension. If the anxiety becomes too overwhelming and difficult to control it may evolve into anxiety disorders (panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and others).
Anxiety can be either a short term "state" or a long term "trait". Trait anxiety defines the effect of an organism over time and across situations, whereas state anxiety is the response or adaptation to a given situation.
The emotional expressions in humans are connected with limbic system (brain structures located on both sides of the thalamus, immediately underneath the cerebrum). The “control centre” of anxiety is taught to be the amygdala (structural part of limbic system) which can affect the body functions through hormonal signals (production of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, acetylcholine) affecting other glands such as hypothalamus (reproduction control centre) or the vegetative nervous system (sympathikus and parasympathikus). Therefore, anxiety, with its origin in amygdala, can originate stress reaction of the body producing stress hormones and modulating the physiology of whole body. The presence of stress state of the body and related high concentration of stress hormones (such as glucocorticoids, catecholamine and others) is negatively influencing the reproduction performance of an individual and may be also connected with some reproduction related disorders. Obviously, it may affect other features of the body, then just the reproductive system. Metabolism is also influenced by stress state of the body’s physiology, since the function of thyroidal glands (which are producing many metabolism-related hormones) is also modulated by stress hormones.
Some studies proclaim that women are almost twice as likely to experience anxiety as men. It is also generally observed that habitants of more developed societies of western world are more likely to suffer from anxiety then people from other cultures.
Polycystic ovary syndrome, Anovulation, Endometriosis
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is quite often connected with hyperandrogenimia (excessive levels of androgens in the body), increased body weight and menstrual irregularities. All these factors are associated with mood dysfunction which may lead to anxiety feelings. In some cases of PCOS also appear closely related disorders, such as hirsutism and obesity. Those have negative impact on the appearance of a woman and may induce or worsen the anxiety and social avoidance. Quite similarly, anxiety can be a symptom of anovulation or it can be even the cause of it. In case of stressful condition, such as low support received from partner, social discrimination or low self-esteem, anxiety may develop inducing unhealthy stress reaction of the body which may break gonadotropin-releasing hormone pulsation (GnRH; utmost importance in controlling the menstruation cycle) and lead to anovulation.
Ejaculatory disorders, premature ejaculation(PE), delayed ejaculation (DE), erectile dysfunction (ED)
The mood disorders in man may also lead to decreased fertility through the induction of some sexual disorders (e.g. ejaculatory disorders or erectile dysfunction) and through the negative impact on semen quality caused by hormonal imbalance. Anxiety may appear as a result of worries about sexual performance, sexual technique, sexual frequency and so on. Anxiety with it centre in amygdala may be the cause of serotonin disturbances (serotonin is a neurotransmitter; chemical substance inducing reaction between neurones). These changes in serotonin production and function may lead through a hormonal cascade to induction of mentioned sexual disorders. There has been also observed a relation between serotonin receptors and sexual disorders (PE, DE, ED) which may be genetically predisposed. Hyposensitivity of serotonin receptors may be related to PE, on the other hand hypersensitivity may be related to DE or even absent ejaculation despite full erection.
Thyroid disorders, hyperthyroidism
Primary thyroid disorders, specifically hyperthyroidism (overproduction of the hormone thyroxine) leading to thyrotoxicosis (too high levels of circulating hormone thyroxin), may be accompanied by neuropsychiatric manifestations such as anxiety. Thyroid glands are part of so called hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. This axis represents complex interactions between thyroid glands and the brain. If those interactions are changed by malfunction of thyroid glands it may cause even behavioural changes such as anxiety in case of hyperthyroidism. The hormonal imbalance caused by malfunction of thyroid glands is affecting the function of hypothalamus which is communicating with “emotional” centre, the limbic system.
Anorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder characterized by a low weight, fear of gaining weight and food restriction. As in case of any eating disorder, the function of whole body is greatly affected. Between many other symptoms of anorexia, anxiety may appear as a consecutive disorder due to constant worry about the weight and due to the fear of gaining weight. On the other hand, anorexia may appear also as a consequence of hormonal changes due to alimentary deficiency. For example, zinc deficiency is associated with higher levels of anxiety.
The inability (that lasts more than 6 months) to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual activity.
An eating disorder characterized by the maintenance of a body weight below average, fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image.
A condition in which a woman has an imbalance of female sex hormones. This may lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, cysts in the ovaries, trouble g
Failure of the ovaries to release an oocyte over a period of time generally exceeding 3 months.
A class of sexual disorders defined as the subjective lack of normal ejaculation.
A medical condition impairing the function of the thyroid.
Medical condition characterized by the presence of ectopic endometrial tissue within the myometrium.
A man experiences orgasm and expels semen soon after sexual activity and with minimal penile stimulation.
A man's inability for or persistent difficulty in achieving orgasm, despite typical sexual desire and sexual stimulation.
A condition in which fertility impairment occurs spontaneously or due to an unknown cause.
Condition that occurs due to excessive production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.