Depression hurts. And it affects everyone differently. It can complicate every aspect of one’s life. Depression can even play a key emotional and physiological role in a couple’s inability to become pregnant.
We’ve blogged before about how much stress can contribute to fertility problems. Recent studies have suggested that women who either experience high levels of stress or depression can easily disrupt their hormonal levels as well as their menstrual and ovulation cycles. Also in many cases, infertility in men can be attributed to depression and stress as well, and can result in diminished sperm counts.
There is an ongoing debate about which causes which. While depression can certainly lead to infertility, infertility can also very much cause depression. Research has shown that depressed individuals are more likely to engage in unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and poor nutrition – all of which can contribute to exacerbating the depression and causing infertility. Furthermore, the chances of conceiving are significantly reduced for women with a history of anti-depressant use and those who have used them for six months or longer. On the other side of things, having conception problems for extended periods of time is stressful, disappointing, frustrating and … depressing. And these chronic worries associated with not being able to conceive just continue to interfere with the hormonal balance of the body. Ergo, a cycle emerges that gets more and more difficult to break.
This is one of many reasons why it is so important to stay positive while going through the process of trying to conceive. It is without a doubt very disheartening, frustrating and upsetting when success isn’t achieved right away, but keep in mind that getting stressed out about it and down on yourself just reduces your chances even further. If you are feeling depressed, please contact your family doctor, who can recommend treatments that can help.