Emotional Impact of Fertility Treatment on Depression, Anxiety and Stress

We understand the emotional impact of fertility treatment on moods, depression, anxiety and stress. Fertility treatment such as IVF has side effects and involves invasive procedures, pathology testing and complicated appointment schedules; adding to the stress and emotional roller coaster of the original diagnosis. For many, the process of trying to conceive (TTC) is a journey of hopefulness, grief and disappointment. For women and men with pre-existing histories of depression and anxiety, this may worsen symptoms brought on by the stress and hormones involved in the process of infertility treatment such as low self esteem, feelings of isolation and hopelessness. Managing the stress and emotional impact of infertility with psychotherapy, diet and lifestyle changes, nutritional therapy and therapeutic herbal remedies is important and can help to improve the success of your next fertility treatment.

Mood Symptoms During Fertility Treatment and The Role of Hormones

Mood symptoms are common during fertility treatment due to hormones. Research identifies the effects of infertility and its treatments; including distress and symptoms such as depression, mood swings and anxiety. Depression, anxiety and hostility scores tended to be higher in women at the time of embryo transfer (before the pregnancy test) than at the first or second (before transfer) visits. After a failed IVF cycle, women experienced a further lowering of self-esteem and an increase in depression relative to pre-treatment levels. Although the psychological effect of prescribed hormones during infertility treatment is not comprehensively studied, many women experience mood swings and depression when taking ovulation induction medications as part of a fertility treatment regime. At BUMP®, we know that independent, pathology testing for stress hormones and intensive emotional support is crucial to every fertility treatment and offer a full array of services to help and guide you throughout your fertility journey and make things easier.

Fertility Treatment and Side Effects

Many fertility treatments have side effects. Ovulation problems are helped with ovulation induction drugs such as Clomid which is often used to stimulate egg maturity, triggering ovulation with ovarian failure. This relies on the prescription of oral or injectable hormone medications that stimulate the ovaries to produce mature oocytes. Side effects of fertility treatments include depression, anxiety and hostility. Other side effects include weight gain, hair loss, fatigue and insomnia.

Managing the side effects of fertility treatment is important and at BUMP® we are experts in providing effective natural solutions with diet, nutrition, lifestyle changes and therapeutic herbal support. We also offer intensive emotional support programs to guide you through the emotional challenges and side effects of fertility treatment. Combined, these can help to improve the success of your next fertility treatment.

Hormones, Anxiety, Irritability and Mood swings During Fertility Treatment

Fertility treatment is linked to irritability and mood swings due to hormones. In a natural menstrual cycle, ovulation relies on several hormones such as gonadal estrogen and progesterone, and Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH). In the time between menses and ovulation, the follicles within the ovary mature, causing a rise in estrogen levels until ovulation occurs. This means progesterone levels at this time are lowered. Once ovulation occurs, estrogen levels decline triggering a rise in progesterone levels.

There is a significant body of research illustrating the link between depression, anxiety, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, post-partum depression, perimenopausal depression and mood changes in women during premenstrual, post-partum, and perimenopausal periods. This may be due to the interaction of the estrogen and progesterone and the brain and it is possible that distress experienced during IVF treatments such as ovulation induction/insemination or cycles of embryo transfer.

Fluctuations and changes in mood are also linked to emotions experienced while trying to conceive such as feelings of grief, uncertainty, failure, guilt, sadness, anxiety and irritability. Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists are used in fertility treatments to suppress a woman's menstrual cycle, effectively causing menopause. GnRH agonists have been associated with depression in women. However clomiphene citrate and human menopausal gonadotropin (stimulates follicle growth), are also associated with significant mood symptoms.

Research also links mood and anxiety symptoms experienced by women undergoing IVF/ET (embryo transfer) procedures, with the highest levels of changes due to declining levels of estrogen and progesterone throughout the cycle.

How to Manage Anxiety and Depression During Fertility Treatment and IVF

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It is well known that hormone therapy for fertility treatment is linked to mood and anxiety symptoms in women. In addition, psychological changes such as anxiety and stress in both men and women are experienced with fertility treatment. Ongoing fertility treatment is also a cause of depression and anxiety. Strong evidence suggests women given hormone therapy for fertility treatment combined with fluctuating levels of hormones such as declining estrogen levels, impact mood in addition to psychological distress associated with fertility treatment. It is therefore a compounding effect. The good news is, we understand at BUMP the benefits of additional support and offer a variety of different options to ensure you are supported and maximise your chances of a healthy, viable pregnancy.

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