February 20, 2020

How to cope when infertility leads to depression and stress

Infertility is dreadful and people who are suffering from this often experience bouts of sadness, stress and feelings of despair. Some even slip into a phase of depression. Researches done in 2016-2017 found there was a high chance of major depressive disorder among people who were undergoing infertility treatments. Read on to know how infertility can lead to depression among both men and women.

Infertility – How is it linked to depression?

Doctors have always considered infertility to be a medical issue but the secrecy and shame associated with infertility is still there. This sense of shame can make it difficult for the sufferer to ask for help from family and friends. It can be extremely disappointing when you can’t get pregnant even after trying for a long period of time and things get worse when you don’t receive support from your family members. There have been researches which found that depression can even inhibit people from getting themselves treated.

Though people with fertility issues can still have a child post treatments like IVF (in-vitro fertilization), yet stress regarding whether or not the treatment will work can also adversely impact the person’s mental health. Few reasons people go through depression while surviving with infertility are as follows:

  • Medical conditions: There are many medical problems that can lead to infertility like PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome that can also heighten the chances of a depression. In fact there have been studies that proved that women suffering from PCOS had higher chances of anxiety and depression.
  • Stress: As mentioned earlier, infertility can always be a stressful experience, especially when a person goes through immense pressure to get pregnant.
  • Challenges of treatment: A trial proved that women undergoing fertility treatment found their depression to aggravate with the progress of the treatment.
  • Side effects of treatment: There are several fertility medicines that use hormones and these hormones can have an impact on a person’s mood, thereby increasing the risk of depression.

Symptoms that you’re suffering from infertility-induced depression

A person can occasionally feel depressed but when these feelings continue over time, this has an impact on the quality of her life. A person may get treated for depression when there are the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood on most of the days
  • Weight even without deliberate dieting
  • Loss of interest in activities that they liked
  • Feeling slow and agitated most of the days
  • Feeling guilty or worthless about yourself
  • Difficulty in concentrating or thinking clearly
  • Thoughts of suicide and death

If a person experiences one or most of the above listed symptoms, the doctor may diagnose her with depression.

Seek support

Though infertility is something common, it can soon get isolating. As per Centers for Disease Control, around 8% of women between 15 and 45 years don’t get pregnant even after trying for 1 year. Infertility doesn’t last forever and hence you can also get healthy babies post treatment.

Find support from others who have gone through similar experiences as they are the best resources for managing stress. This way you can keep your relationship functioning properly and assure individuals that they’re no longer alone.

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