Infertility is a stressful experience. Couples undergoing fertility treatment often face additional stress from social stigma and uncomfortable social experiences. Battling health issues on one side is a burden enough. Unfortunately, there is a lot of association between mental health and infertility. And, often women are more affected by it.
Consider these stats:
- Infertility is not uncommon, it affects 12% of women worldwide.
- 40% of women were diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or both before they sought treatment for fertility issues
- 66% reported that infertility is the largest cause of stress in their lives.
- 31% of women who sought fertility treatment showed psychiatric symptoms, including depression.
Apart from these numbers, many studies point to the prevalence of mental health issues in those seeking infertility treatment.
Mental Health and Infertility: Root Causes
There is no doubt that an infertility diagnosis is a tough one. Couples go through immense trauma through it all. It can cause a landslide of emotions when there is a lack of control over one’s life. Naturally, stress levels go up. But does it end there?
There is a lot of social conditioning that plays against oneself. Raising a family is always seen as a natural outcome of love. When one faces the reality that they are incapable of naturally producing offspring, many other emotions come into play. This includes shame, embarrassment, and isolation. It can be hard to recognize this and take adequate action against such debilitating mental states.
The setbacks during fertility treatment are also major reasons for mental distress. It can significantly affect the couples as well as the relationship between couples. It is important to first acknowledge the mental health impact these instances can have to properly take action against it and find support.
Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health issues in those undergoing IVF treatment and other infertility treatments. A clinical study found that the symptoms of anxiety and depression resulting from infertility issues can be comparable to those diagnosed with serious medical conditions like cancer.
Anxiety can manifest as an overwhelming dread, with physical symptoms like muscle tension, trembling, and restlessness. It usually dissipates after a positive pregnancy result.
Depression manifests as severe low mood, sadness, loss of interest, irritability, and sleep issues. If diagnosed, patients can seek medical attention as well as seek out support groups to combat depression.
Now that the link between mental health and infertility is clear, how do we deal with it?
Tips to Maintain Mental Health During Infertility Treatment
An infertility diagnosis and ensuing treatment can be a period of immense stress. Periods of expectation and disappointments are all part of IVF treatments. It takes immense mental grit to stay positive and pursue treatment to completion. Here are a few tips on managing your mental health issues.
- Self-care by developing mindful good habits can boost your mental health in the long run. These habits include eating healthy, exercising, journaling, maintaining a hobby, etc.
- Support groups provide opportunities to share experiences, coping strategies, and firsthand information.
- Family & friends are the first lines of defense against a mental health issue. Keeping close friends and loved ones aware of your mental state can help to build a support system that you can lean on in times of crisis.
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Summing It Up
Infertility and the ensuing treatment can be a time of mental stress for the couple. They must be under the care of the best doctors. At Jaanistha fertility center and hospital, you will find some of the best IVF doctors in Bangalore, providing holistic infertility treatment with special care and support throughout your infertility journey.