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Archive for February, 2011

I suspect you know this even if your doctor doesn’t: A major part of your infertility disorder is psychological and emotional.

I don’t have to describe the distress, suffering, frustration, embarrassment, desperation and hopelessness many of you are experiencing. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

You are not alone, according to emerging research. For example, the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine studied 60 PCOS women over 22 months. 40% were depressed, 17% had major depressive disorder or other depressive syndromes. This rate might have been worse but 23% of the women were taking anti-depressants.

11.6% had anxiety syndromes, and 23.3% had binge eating disorder.

56.6% of all the women had some kind of mood disorder. The Iowa researchers also noted that 18% of the women did not start out depressed but became depressed after 22 months.

They discovered that the women with infertility issues were much more anxious. Their most troublesome symptoms were reduced sleep, worry, phobias, and pain.

We can’t just sweep the mental/emotional part under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist. There’s an 800 lb. gorilla in the room and we all need to find ways to deal with it.

Your body and being is one whole. In your body, there is no separation between your physical parts and your mental/emotional parts. Your physical and mental aspects are in constant communication with each other and influence each other.

But think back for a moment. When your doctor gave you a diagnosis, what did he or she do? Prescribe fertility pills, tell you to lose weight if overweight, and dart out the door to the next patient?

And what about your feelings? Your emotions? Your depression and anxiety? Your stress level? I’ll bet these critical issues were never discussed or dealt with.

So it’s really up to you. I encourage you to acknowledge the mental aspects of infertility and find some ways of solving the issues of depression, anxiety, binge eating, etc.

Here are a few quick ideas to get you started.

1) Find a psychologist or other mental health professional to help you. You need to get outside your little bubble of isolation and helplessness. An experienced mental health professional can be very helpful to you and give you the support you need to make positive changes.  Support groups are also extremely helpful and I run two groups, one in Oakland and one in Orinda.

2) Take walks. Simple physical activity such as walking can relieve depression and anxiety, reduce the urge for compulsive eating, reduce stress, and more.

3) Keep a daily journal. Doing so will help you maintain greater awareness of what’s going on in your life.

4) Find some good self-help books and read them. Maybe they will give you some good ideas. Example: “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life” by Martin Seligman, PhD.

5) Ask a health professional about nutritional supplements that may help with mood disorders. Two examples are: inositol and fish oil.

Source: PCOS review

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