For many years, people believed there was some connection between infertility and stress, and there is; but people had it wrong. The theory was that stress could cause infertility, but that’s not true.
Certain stressful things — like the physical stress of training for a marathon, or the stress of finishing your graduate degree — may disrupt your cycle and cause temporary problems, but those problems are self-correcting and don’t lead to infertility. In the majority of cases, infertility is caused by a physiological problem in one partner or another.
In fact, it’s infertility that causes stress. It can lead to depression and anxiety and may disrupt your life to a degree that surprises you.
Signs of infertility stress
Even if you don’t think your diagnosis is having an impact on your mental health, there are a few signs for which you should be aware. If you notice any of these things, you should discuss it with Dr. Pourzand.
Trouble with organization
Do you feel as if things are just falling apart? Like you can’t remember where things are, or what you need to be doing? Disorganization can be a symptom of on-coming depression, or of mental overload.
Problems making decisions
Maybe you have big decisions under control, but small things, like what to wear to work, are causing you great distress. This is another easily-missed sign that you’re experiencing mental distress.
Loss of interest
Do you find yourself putting off tasks you used to enjoy, or wishing that someone else would handle simple things for you? This may be another warning sign of psychological distress.
Difficulty with relationships
If you’re having problems with your relationships — whether with your partner, friends, family, or even co-workers — it could be a sign of depression. Healthy relationships are important for good mental health.
Persistent negative feelings
It would be surprising if you didn’t feel angry or sad upon receiving a diagnosis of infertility, if you wanted to have a child. However, if those feelings continue, or if you feel guilty, worthless, or consistently pessimistic, you should discuss those feelings with Dr. Pourzand.
The most important step in coping with the mental health fallout from an infertility diagnosis is being aware. Pay attention to how you feel, and watch for the signs listed above. It’s also important to realize that these coping strategies are useful for anyone pursuing positive mental health.
Practice good self care
Are you eating nutritious foods, regularly? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you exercise most days? Taking care of your physical body is an important factor in good mental health.
Stay in the present moment
When you’re under stress, it’s easy to think about the past and wish things had gone differently. It’s equally easy to worry over the future. Whenever you catch yourself doing either of those things, gently, consciously, remind yourself that it’s the present moment that is important.
Talk to someone
Talking about how you feel and what you’re going through is usually helpful. Sometimes, it’s difficult to talk about infertility with those who are closest to you, so it may be helpful to seek counseling. Dr. Pourzand may have recommendations for you.
Finding out that you or your partner are infertile can be shocking, and may require you to change your worldview in unexpected ways. Some studies have found that women who are diagnosed with infertility have similar mental health struggles as those who are diagnosed with cancer.
If you suspect that your diagnosis is impacting your mental health, book an appointment with Dr. Pourzand. You can use our online scheduling tool at any time, or give us a call during regular business hours.