"Psychological stress and depression impact one's self-esteem, physical health, and also affect one's social relationships. According to WHO, there has been an increase in stress and depression cases by 18% in last 10 years. One of the reasons why men and women fall prey to mental stress is the inability to conceive a child. When it comes to stress and infertility, people are often caught in a vicious cycle. The stress adds on to the problem by causing hormonal changes to the body, making it even more difficult to conceive. Moreover, it can affect their marital relation also. The 'childless' tag brings social seclusion and frustration to the couple and the family.
The stress levels among infertile couples are extremely high today. About 20-25% of couples go through tremendous mental pressure while undergoing infertility treatment. They get anxious about the treatment, and are often left with uncertainties about the chances of success and in fear of their friends and families getting to know. This World Mental Health Day, we would like to send out a message to all couples that a happy mind and a relaxed body are the key factors for a successful pregnancy, be it natural or through IVF. The success rate for the treatment of any physical ailment is significantly better when one isn't too stressed, and infertility treatment is no different. Hence, we advise all couples seeking treatment to be aware of their limitations, consult their doctors regularly, seek counselling and therapy when necessary, maintain a healthy lifestyle and physical routine, and support each other emotionally."
Infertility and mental health
Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying (or after trying for 6 months if a woman is 35 or older). Women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant may also be infertile. Infertility affects 10 to 15 percent of couples.
Women who want a child but have not yet conceived often experience the following:
- Marital problems
- Sexual dysfunction
- Social isolation
- Low self-esteem
Researchers are not sure if mental health can affect fertility, although it is clear that infertility can affect mental health. It's possible, though, that high levels of depression, anxiety, and stress can affect the hormones that regulate ovulation. This could make it difficult for a woman to become pregnant.
- Tension, irritability
- Feeling of sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of enjoyment /pleasure
- Withdrawal from activities that you once enjoyed
- Inability to make decisions
- Lack of concentration or focus
- Self criticism
Difference between being sad and depressed:
If an individual exhibits more than two or three signs then there are chances that he/she may be dealing with depression, if they exhibit one or two signs it indicates that they are sad that which is human.
Being depressed about not being able to conceive is a normal part of infertility treatment and must be dealt with effectively in order to overcome.
Couples with infertility have many treatments available to help them conceive. Most of these treatments cost a lot of money and may not be covered by health insurance. While many couples who seek infertility treatment are already stressed, the process and cost of assisted reproduction itself can also cause anxiety, depression, and stress. If you are trying fertility treatments and they are not working, you may be at risk for further depression and self-esteem problems. Try to keep a positive attitude, and be sure to talk to your doctor about getting help if you feel you need it. A number of research studies show that women who are distressed have lower pregnancy rates among women trying infertility treatments.
Talk therapy, either one-on-one or in a group, can lower stress and mood symptoms. Women who had talk therapy during their infertility treatments were more likely to get pregnant than those who did not.
Researchers are still learning whether drugs like antidepressants can help infertile women. Many women don't want to take medications during infertility treatments because they are afraid it may affect the outcome of a pregnancy. However, there is no data that shows that commonly used antidepressants affect a woman's chances of becoming pregnant.
Inputs by - Dr. Manish Banker, Chairman and Medical Director, Nova IVI Fertility
Hypertension is one of the most common risk factors of Coronary artery diseases
As per various study and survey conducted in the last few years, the most common risk factor for Coronary Heart Diseases is Hypertension. The prevalence of risk factors in 100 Men suffering from Cardiac Diseases is 25.9%; whereas 24.8% women in 100 also find Hypertension as the risk factor. The second most common risk factor in smoking at 22.8% among Men but for women Hypertension is the foremost cause of Cardiac Diseases. These figures are based on the data published by registrar general of India. Increased stress leads to Hypertension; each stressful situation faced by an individual makes them physiologically older than their chronological age. This leads to Coronary Heart Diseases at a younger age.
The current sedentary lifestyle combined with stress has led to an increase in the number of youngsters with coronary heart diseases. “There are two types of stress, Acute and Chronic stress. Chronic stress leads to hormonal changes, Hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases. If those in their 30’s are under stress for a longer period, are leading a sedentary lifestyle, then can lead to coronary artery diseases at a later stage. Multiple factors collectively cause heart problems. Normal stress experienced during driving, commuting or handling daily activities are manageable. However, acute stress experienced among elderly can cause heart attack while youngsters are capable to handle such situations. If those with pre-existing heart ailment face any stressful situations, mentally or physically, can precipitate heart problems,” said Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre.
“Heart diseases are usually considered as Men’s illness; however, women lead an equally stressful life and tend to ignore their health. Heart attacks are now the number one cause of death among women as well. Men between 40 to 60 years of age are 1.5 times more prone to heart attacks than a woman of the same age. A spike in heart attacks among post-menopausal women is noticed as the estrogen levels decrease in the body in this age. Estrogen works as a protection from coronary heart disease,” added Dr Bhamre.
Dr. Rahul Gupta,Apollo Hospitals Navi Mumbai, says "Stress increases the adrenergic drive and causes sympathetic overactivity. This causes endothelial dysfunction constricts the arteries raises the blood pressure and heart rate and multiple other deleterious effects which increases the chances of block formation inside coronary arteries. It also increase the chances of plaque rupture which is the reason for heart attacks in apparently normal looking individuals.
There are many studies which have shown that stress is an important risk factor for many lifestyle diseases and controlling stress with measures like yoga meditation exercise and proper sleep significantly reduces the chances of heart disease.Youth in our country are living in a highly competitive world and are under constant pressure of performance. They neglect their health badly by overworking, lack of sleep no exercise and improper eating habits. We are seeing lot of young patients with high BP, diabetes and heart disease these days and stress seems to be the number one risk factors. I suggest the youth of our country to take measures which will reduce stress."
How to power your heart?
1. Brisk Walking for 40minutes, can also run, swim or ride a cycle
2. Avoid junk, fried foods, excess salt, (excess sugared drinks) or any form of tobacco.
3. Ensure 7 to 8 hours of undisturbed sleep daily
4. Pursue yoga or meditation for few minutes in a day to help keep a relaxed stress free mind
5. Only up to 30 to 40 gms of oil can be consumed in a day