Posts Tagged ‘fertility treatments’

How Hormones Play a Role in Mood Swings During Fertility Treatments

Infertile men and women often say they feel sad or tired.

They can’t eat or sleep, they are anxious, irritable, or pessimistic.

These are all symptoms of depression.

Women, more than men, tend to express higher levels of depression about infertility.

Studies show that women tend to experience greater levels of distress than their male partners in terms of anxiety, depression, and hostility as well as more stress and lower self-esteem.

Often it’s the woman who has to bear the brunt of the medical interventions.

She has to show up for regular monitoring and go through the day-to-day struggle of hormone injections, drug side effects, and recurring periods.

Some of the depression is due to the effect of hormones on a woman’s mood during fertility treatments, writes Piave Pitisci Lake, M.D., Member of the American Fertility Association (AFA) Mental Health Advisory Council, in the July issue of the AFA newsletter.

“There is no doubt that women experience mood and anxiety symptoms during hormone therapy for fertility treatment,” writes Dr. Lake, who is a psychiatrist in Mount Pleasant, SC, who has an interest in women’s mental health and infertility issues.

“The causes of these symptoms are multiple, including the psychological issues involved in having to undergo fertility treatment.

In addition, there are specific points during a treatment cycle that are associated with increased anxiety and distress.

The length of time one has been pursuing fertility treatment also affects how vulnerable a woman might be to symptoms of depression and anxiety.

There is now some evidence to suggest that, among women given hormone therapy for fertility treatment, fluctuating levels of hormones, especially declining levels of estrogen, will have a negative effect on mood beyond that attributable to psychological distress.”

So how can a woman handle the emotional issues of fertility treatments?

— Recognize that feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt, isolation, and anger are very common among infertile couples.

— The more you know about your condition, its causes and treatments, the less stress you will feel about it.

— You can manage the effects of stress through techniques such as breathing exercises, journal writing, meditation and relaxation, mindfulness, and making time for yourself.

— You can learn to replace negative thoughts with new, more balanced thoughts.

— You and your partner may respond differently to infertility. Support each other and try to understand your partner’s feelings.