When you can’t conceive or take a baby to term, you may feel sad, discouraged, anxious, and defeated. While most discussion about infertility revolves around physical issues, it can take a toll on your mind, too. In this blog, Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, discusses some of the causes of infertility, how it can affect your mental health, and steps you may be able to take to get to the bottom of the issue.
What is infertility?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 6.1 million women in the United States ages 15-44 are infertile. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a child after:
- One year of trying if you’re age 35 and under
- Six months of trying if you’re age 35-40
- Three months of trying if you’re age 40 or older
Infertility also includes the repeated inability to carry a pregnancy to term.
What causes infertility?
In most cases, problems with ovulation cause infertility. The most common condition that affects ovulation is polycystic ovarian syndrome. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition in which the ovaries don’t release the eggs at the right time or the eggs don’t develop properly. Other conditions include:
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Uterus abnormalities and deformities
- Uterine fibroids
Advancing age is a primary reason that about one-third of women over age 35 have fertility issues. As a woman ages, ovaries have trouble releasing eggs, and the remaining eggs are less healthy. Other risk factors for female infertility include:
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- Poor nutrition
- Weight problems
- Sexually transmitted diseases and infections
- Hormone problems
How infertility can affect your mental health
Infertility can impact almost every aspect of your physical, sexual, spiritual, and financial life, which can take a big emotional toll.
Anxiety and depression
The uncertainty and physical demands of infertility treatments can cause anxiety and depression. Feelings of anger, sadness, and guilt can emerge after attempts to get pregnant continue to fail.
Infertility can wreck your sex life, which can feel more like a job than a love connection. Sex can become associated with disappointment and failure, putting stress on your relationship.
Couples can question their spiritual and religious beliefs when the ability to become parents alludes them. On the other hand, a relationship to a higher power can comfort some infertile couples.
Infertility treatments can take a lot of time and money. Declining bank accounts and missing work for doctor’s appointments can cause worry.
If you’re going through infertility, Dr. Weyhrich can give you a thorough evaluation and try to find the cause. He’ll perform a physical exam and discuss the sexual history of you and your partner.
If Dr. Weyhrich isn’t able to identify any causes from this, he may ask you to keep an ovulation diary for a few months. He may ask you to keep track of your morning body temperature, describe your monthly cervical mucus, and use an over-the-counter ovulation kit. He may also do blood tests or perform an ultrasound to check ovulation.
If you have infertility problems, Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.