Dealing with Depression Caused by Infertility

Often, depression and infertility are in accord with each other.

“As her symptoms begin to define her, the feelings of sadness, fatigue, exhaustion, inadequacy, uncertainty and suicide permeate her day. Under the best of circumstances, even with sufficient support and excellent healthcare, this is a distressing picture,” Karen Kleiman MSW, LCSW talks about a woman who is suffering severe depression.

Though a lot of notions lean towards the realization that infertility can cause depression, you might be surprised to know that people who have undergone depressive symptoms have higher chances of experiencing fertility problems. Additionally, it might strike you to realize that those who have postpartum depression are couples who have previously struggled with conception problems.

“The researchers remind us that stress is the one consistent factor that shows an effect on how long it takes to get pregnant, of all the lifestyle factors studied to date. More surprising is that even low levels of stress can have an impact on conception,” Connie Shapiro PhD talks about the correlation of stress and fertility in respect to a study conducted by Dr. Alice Domar.

 

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Red Flags Indicating How Infertility has Seized Control of Your Life

Dealing with infertility can be daunting for affected couples. While some people have no problem with reproduction, some are having a hard time trying to make a baby.

“Although 1 in 8 couples struggle to get or stay pregnant, infertility feels rare. The more severe the case of infertility, the more unique the suffering can feel. There aren’t many people who truly appreciate the gravity of not having the eggs required to reproduce,” says Jamie Long Psyd.

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Types of Mental Health States During Pregnancy

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The medical literature described other clinical states that can happen during pregnancy. It is important to differentiate and identify the clinical state of the mother as each may require a different approach. Some may need psychotherapy, medications, or none at all.

Baby Blues. Considered as the most common form of mood imbalance occurring as early as Day 5 following delivery period and will last until 10 or 14 days. If the symptoms are mild, the mothering role is not compromised, and treatment may not be needed. However, if symptoms worsen, this can lead to a full-blown PPD.

“A new baby is the most exciting event on earth, but caring for the baby is a major new life adaptation. Baby blues is very common – crying and irritability To deal with it, one needs loving support, and others on hand to share in the care,” psychiatrist Dr. Robert Berezin M.D. explains the condition.

Post-partum Depression is a psychological state involving depressive episodes in some mothers occurring during pregnancy or after giving birth. Treatments may include psychotherapy or administration of certain medications to manage or treat the psychological imbalance. Experts believe that this can happen to mothers whose pregnancy is a result of rape or sexual abuse, lack of support from families or the husband, history of mental illness in the family, and hormonal imbalance that happens during pregnancy that may affect the brain functioning to regulate mood and effect.

Postpartum Panic Disorder. Presenting almost the same clinical features of a panic attack, the condition does not primarily display depression but fear or being scared to death. Medications can be given immediately to help the mother get over with panic symptoms. SSRIs or Serotonin reuptake inhibitors can alleviate symptoms of heightened anxiety levels, and CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy can be used as the panic attacks become frequent.

 

Source: health.mil

 

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (PPOCD). Another mental health state that does not clinically portray depression as the primary problem, but the intrusive thoughts and compulsions following feelings of anxiety over the new role or experience. This is very common for new or young mothers and fathers alike. Being new to the parenting role, they possess the state of fear that they will do harm than good to the infant thus a cycle of obsession and compulsive actions are developed. The good news is that this condition is treatable and only temporary.

Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PPPTSD). Giving birth can pose life-threatening situations both to the mother and the infant. Condition or circumstances like undergoing birth trauma such as forceps delivery, prolapse of the cord, or bleeding can lead to a traumatic experience for the mother and may eventually develop into post-traumatic stress disorder. This is also a temporary state and resolves once the mother has fully grasped the situation and with the help of mental health professionals and significant others.

“Postpartum PTSD is very different from Postpartum Depression. The former occurs as a result of trauma (or perceived trauma) during delivery, while the latter happens because of hormonal changes in a woman’s body as a natural result of giving birth,” according to Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD.

 

Source: health.mil

 

Postpartum Psychosis. The most serious and warrants hospital admission as the mother can be a threat to the infant or herself. The mother will be presenting significant signs of psychosis such as thought process deviations like hallucinations, illusion, and delusions. Since inpatient admission is required, the mother is prescribed with antipsychotic medications and psychotherapy in the later stages

 

Mothers need all the support, assistance, and care they need during pregnancy and after giving birth. The presence of the husband or father is very crucial during the whole pregnancy stage. Family support coming from first-degree family members is very significant to the mother while undergoing this phase of her life. One thing to remember is a happy pregnancy can lead to positive outlooks in the future.

To close, Robert J. Hedaya MD, DLFAPA, ABPN, CFM remind moms and dads: “I encourage child-bearing women to thoroughly discuss any mood disturbances with their physicians and their partner. Your emotional well-being is essential to your health, the health of your child, and the stability of your family.”

PCOS Causes That You Need To Know About

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In my 25 years of existence, never have I ever pictured myself out dealing with an ovarian-related problem. My lifestyle is no different from my same-aged peers. I have a nine-to-five job that I neither love nor hate; I party and date when the opportunity arises. Of course, I also dream of becoming a mom of not one but three kids in the near future.

However, a few months back, I realized that I missed two cycles consecutively. Missing one period used not to bother me; I was told at a young age that it happens sometimes. But when a couple of months passed without menstruating, I thought, “Am I pregnant?” Multiple pregnancy test kits said ‘no,’ so what could it be?

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Signs Of PCOS That You Shouldn’t Miss

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone-related issue that people hardly think about even if it’s staring at them in the face. The reason is that we all lack awareness about the existence of this illness. It does not come with painful symptoms either, which are usually the indications that push women to consult an OB-GYN. Despite that, PCOS is as real as any other disease you can think of.

“The symptoms of PCOS start when your pituitary makes too much leutinizing hormone (LH) and/or your pancreas makes too much insulin. This causes your ovaries to make more testosterone than your body needs, which helps explain the extra acne and body hair. Too much testosterone can also cause cysts in your ovaries which aren’t so much cysts as they are immature follicles which started to develop but stopped before they could release an egg,” according to Paul Joannides Psy.D.

In truth, the polycystic ovarian syndrome can be your worst nightmare, especially if all you have ever dreamed of is to become a mom. Having PCOS entails that cysts form outside of your ovaries, preventing the egg cells from getting released. Even when you are trying to conceive with your husband, the sperm cells will eventually die because they don’t have eggs to fertilize.

Considering you have not been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome but still unsure whether you have it or not, here are some signs that you should not miss.

Irregular Menstrual Cycle

The first sign of PCOS is an irregular menstrual cycle. Some women go through a month or two without getting their period while others can go as far as six months. At times, the flow is heavy, and the duration lasts up to seven days; other times, it’s a miracle to reach the third day. You cannot overlook this indication because the irregularity can lower your chances of getting pregnant in the future.

Weight Gain

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Although not all PCOS patients are either obese or overweight, most of them are. The reason is that the syndrome reduces your body’s ability to make use of insulin, the hormone to transform carbohydrates into energy. As a result, the sugars turn into fats, and your love handles will not go away regardless of how much exercising and dieting you do.

When an OB-GYN diagnoses PCOS, they usually prescribe metformin. You may have heard of this drug from people with diabetes before, but it can also be useful for women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome. Not only can metformin reduce your blood glucose, after all, but you can count on it to normalize your cycle as well.

Acne

You should have been able to get rid of your acne problem once the puberty stage is over. However, considering you still see zits on your face, back, and other body parts, it may indicate that you have PCOS.

There’s no need to be surprised if it happens. As you know, both acne and polycystic ovaries are brought about by hormonal changes. You cannot treat your pimples adequately if you have no idea about the condition that causes them to appear.

Final Thoughts

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Helena Teede MBBS, PhD, FRACP said, “Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is key in the management of PCOS and needs engagement and support for affected women in lifestyle modification.”

Have you noticed some or all of the signs mentioned above in you? If not, it most likely means that you are safe from PCOS. If you have, however, you should go to your OB-GYN to confirm it. This way, you can see your treatment options and figure out a way to at least regularize your period or get pregnant despite having this syndrome.

Therapy is also the best resort for your mental health. “Counseling and support may help make this goal more attainable to patients with PCOS, perhaps saving them the heartbreak and expense of infertility and its treatment,” according to Joann P. Galst Ph.D.

Good luck!

Coping With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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People say that when life gives you lemons, you are supposed to make lemonade. It entails that you need to see the situation in a positive light, no matter what. However, can you still do the same if life gives you polycystic ovaries?

“This is a hormone imbalance that can result in irregular periods, unwanted hair growth, acne, extra weight gain, baldness, and patches of dark skin on the back of your neck and inner thighs that weren’t caused by some guy giving you a hickey,” says Paul Joannides Psy.D.

The latter is the question that I kept on asking myself after I got diagnosed with PCOS. At the time, I had not gotten my menstruation for three months straight. I was not sexually active, so it was easy to rule out pregnancy. There were no other symptoms as well aside from the lack of bleeding each month. Hence, I asked my mom to book an appointment for me with her OB-GYN.

When the doctor was already using an ultrasound, I saw little spots covering my ovaries. From what I heard, the image should be smooth if everything’s fine. Due to the new picture, though, it allowed the OB-GYN to deduce that I have the polycystic ovary syndrome.

I admit that I moped a bit after learning about my PCOS. That was especially true in the next months when I was taking pills to boost menstruation. But I knew that there was no one to blame for it except for myself.

If you want to know how to cope after finding out that you have PCOS, here’s what you can do.

Accept The Condition

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The first thing that you should do is to accept that you have polycystic ovary syndrome. There’s no denying it – the ultrasound undoubtedly says so. You may visit another OB-GYN to get the second opinion, but if the results are similar to what you have received from the first one, you have no choice but to accept the condition.

In truth, acceptance will always be the key to coping and possibly healing. You cannot do anything if you cannot cross this initial step.

Lessen Your Stressors

I am not a doctor, but I can say for sure that your lifestyle can affect your PCOS. When I got diagnosed with it, after all, I had weeks of sleepless nights. I was doing my thesis and writing full-time back then, so I did not have enough hours of rest. The situation only improved when I lessened my workload and slept a lot and ate healthily.

It will also be helpful if you can stay away from people who always stress you out. Stressors are not your best friend; they can aggravate your condition. If you want to have regular cycles, you need to let go of stressful folks in your life.

Keep An Open Mind Regarding Treatment

PCOS is technically easy to treat. Some people regularize their menstruation by exercising and eating well; others get prescribed with progesterone pills or injections. In case either will not work, though, the OB-GYN may tell you to take birth control pills for up to six months at max. I suggest staying open-minded when it comes to treatments.

“The key take home messages are that while lifestyle management is the first and most important step in the management of PCOS, addition of metformin to lifestyle modification appears to provide additional advantages in improving BMI and menstrual cyclicity in the medium term,” says Helena Teede MBBS, PhD, FRACP.

Therapy can also provide relief, mentally.

“Counseling and support may help make this goal more attainable to patients with PCOS, perhaps saving them the heartbreak and expense of infertility and its treatment,” according to Joann P. Galst Ph.D.

Final Thoughts

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Remember that polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal condition. Meaning, any action that deviates from how your body is supposed to be can take your hormones out for a spin and activate your PCOS. You may never be able to overcome the disease, but you can learn how to cope with it.

Worries Of A PCOS Patient

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Seeing me for the first time may indicate how bubbly I am as a person. I smile and laugh easily; I am extremely chill to be with as well. However, you should believe that like most people, I can hide my problems behind the broad smiles and loud laughs I give.

In truth, I was diagnosed with the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) when I was 19 years old. The layman explanation for this condition is that watery cysts engulf the ovaries, preventing the eggs from coming out. The result is that the menstruation becomes delayed for months.

I read online from Joann P. Galst Ph.D. that: “PCOS, a common cause of female infertility, is a hormonal disorder in which cysts form on the ovaries (unfertilized eggs). The condition can cause women’s bodies to produce excess male hormones and not provide a woman’s body with enough female hormones for the eggs in her ovaries to mature, thus interfering with ovulation. Symptoms of this hormonal disorder may manifest as excessive growth of body hair, acne, weight gain, and irregular periods.”

I have been keeping in touch with my OB-GYN ever since I learned about my PCOS. She checks on me every month and makes sure that I am getting my periods regularly. Despite that, from the day I found out about it up to now, I can’t shake off a few worries.

Can I Get Pregnant?

My biggest concern is my capability to conceive a baby and carry it to full-term. Although I am not a doctor, I am aware of the basic idea that menstruating each month increases my chances of being a mom. The blood entails that at least one egg drops from the ovaries, albeit unfertilized. So, there is no barrier for the sperm cells if ever I am ready to bear a child.

As mentioned above, however, having polycystic ovary syndrome makes the cycle unstable. Sometimes it is regular; other times, it skips. That is why it feels bothersome to ensure that I can become a mom in time.

 

Source: pixabay.com

When Can I Mind My Lifestyle Less?

It seems typical for every individual to want to let loose and do everything guilt-free. If you want to drink soda all day long, you can do it. In case you binge-watch on Netflix till morning and only eat junk foods, no one will scold you.

The thing is, I have not been able to do any of that since the diagnosis. After all, the OB-GYN has had a great sense that the PCOS came about because all I used to eat are junk foods. Not to mention, I barely slept due to work.

I know that being mindful of my lifestyle can regularize my cycle, but I still miss the old, PCOS-free days.

Will My PCOS Go Away?

The question seems pointless, considering polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the illnesses that scientists still don’t know much about. As a patient, though, I can’t help but wonder if it will ever happen.

PCOS is not as life-threatening as cancer or diabetes – that’s true. It does not come with debilitating symptoms either. Still, it is difficult to carry a disease that can prevent you from reaching the full circle.

“The key take home messages are that while lifestyle management is the first and most important step in the management of PCOS, addition of metformin to lifestyle modification appears to provide additional advantages in improving BMI and menstrual cyclicity in the medium term,” says Helena Teede MBBS, PhD, FRACP.

Final Thoughts

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Learning that you have a condition that science cannot understand or help you get rid of can be frustrating. That is precisely the case when it affects your ability to get pregnant. Nevertheless, if you devote yourself to the various treatment options that your doctor may present to you, nothing is impossible. “The most common treatment for PCOS is the birth control pill, which lowers testosterone in a woman’s body. Diet and exercise are also recommended. PCOS is associated with diabetes and obesity, and can result in making it difficult to conceive,” according to Paul Joannides Psy.D.

Good luck!

Madonna In The Eyes Of The Master And Antoniazzo Romano

According to therapists, paintings are works of art whose meanings cannot often be easily interpreted at a glance. One has to look at the vividness or lightness of colors truly and the figures being portrayed in the masterpiece for you to have an inkling regarding the ideas that have been running in the artist’s mind when he or she was finishing it.

The subject that they paint is not always unique. The distinction shows in the manner that they have expressed the scenario. A particular matter that many artists have done a piece of in the last centuries in the Madonna.

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The Mother And Child

Madonna is the illustration of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus Christ. This has been the subject for various Italian Renaissance painters, to be specific, because of the strong prevalence of Catholic and Orthodox religions in European countries. To craft such a representation of a religious icon exhibits their belief and devotion to the lady who has agreed to carry in her womb the son of God, despite her purity and unmarried status at the time of conception.

Some of the talented people who have painted their version of Madonna are Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini, Raffaello, and Michelangelo. However, the artists who have nailed their name in art history through this figure are the Master and Antoniazzo Romano.

Master’s Straus Madonna

If typical depictions of Madonna only show the mother and the child, Master’s Straus Madonna are more elaborate than that. In his painting, you will see both of them gazing at each other’s eyes. The two angels are watching over Mary and Jesus, while the four saints – two of which have been identified as Saint Dominic and Saint John the Baptist – are below them.

Upon taking a closer look, it is apparent that the mother and the child are floating above the saints, and the angels seem to be ascending with the two. The creases and folds on the characters’ garments are very defined, and the cloth that covers the baby’s lower body has a pinkish hue.

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Antoniazzo Romano’s Madonna

The Madonna painting that was created by Antoniazzo Romano gives a clear picture of the Virgin Mary’s enthronement. The image produced displays a crown directly above the mother’s head. On her right is Saint Peter, while Saint Paul has occupied the left side. The former is presenting a book the Mary as he holds the actual key to heaven in his other hand, whereas the former clutches a bible and a sword.

In this case, the baby is standing on his mother’s lap and is only slightly supported by Mary’s arm. The background is similar to a church setting, yet the new queen is sitting in an actual throne. There are extra details on the halo of Mary and Jesus as well, in comparison to the saints’.

The Artists’ Painting Styles Explained

The greatest painters, even though they paint diverse things all the time, illustrate most of their subjects in a fashion that can only be attributed to them. The Master of the Straus Madonna, for instance, has formed slim figures, as this is what he is famous for. As for Antoniazzo Romano’s Madonna, the faces are slightly bigger and somewhat lighter.

The two paintings are similar, however, in the sense that the artists have used the same medium to generate such masterpieces. During the time when the idea about these artworks has been perceived, the painters have become accustomed to painting on a panel. Before that, the artists back then have only been familiar with working on walls, ceilings, and statues, and their imagination has brought the fresco into existence. Further experimentations and their desire to be able to paint on something that can be carried anywhere has made them realize that painting on wood is a great choice as well.

Romano and Master’s versions of Madonna have been done with gold leaf and the tempera medium. Tempera refers to colors which have resulted from mixing the egg yolk and different pigments. The yolk serves as the binding material between the dye and the panel. Because the shades that an artist can obtain from this are quite limited, they have decided to incorporated bits of gold into the artwork, intending to emphasize the shapes and lines in it. This is the ultimate secret behind the figures’ three-dimensional forms.

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Master Vs. Antoniazzo Romano’s Representation

The identity of the mother and child may be alike in the paintings of the artists, but their facial expressions are not. The Master has displayed Mary as a parent who lovingly stares at her son. She cradles Jesus in both of her arms, and you can get the feeling that you are witnessing a special bonding moment between the two. This has always been how the Virgin Mother’s character was portrayed across history.

On the other hand, Romano’s Madonna does not have the warmth that surrounds the Master’s painting. In this specific piece, Mary and baby Jesus’s gazes are directed to what is ahead of them. Because of this, it can be immediately deduced that she is the queen, and in her arms is the future king of all the kings. This invokes a solid sense of superiority there that is not evident in the Madonna made by the Master, even though in that masterpiece the mother and child are ascending to the heavens and with the saints underneath them.

One explanation that can come to mind is that the visible changes are due to the age difference of the infants in Romano and Master’s paintings. The latter is in a very early stage of his life in which he cannot do anything without his mother. Thus, they are communicating through emotional and physical touches alone. On the contrary, the baby in the former can stand up, so it entails he can already understand Mary’s words. This does not entail though that the bond that is connecting them has been broken.

Final Thoughts

The slight dissimilarity in the masterpieces of Antoniazzo Romano and the Master shows the true nature of mothers in the universe. Their love for the offspring is everlasting, yet they know when is the right time to let go and allow the child to do his or her life tasks.