Fertility Mental Health

How Do Endo Fertility Issues Impact the Mental Health of a Person?

Endometriosis (endo) can cause many issues. Endometriosis patients may have difficulty becoming pregnant or maintaining a full-term pregnancy. Up to 70% of women with endometriosis get pregnant without medical treatment. However, 30 to 50% of patients with endo experience fertility issues and may need endometriosis fertility treatments or surgery. Up to 50% of all women with infertility have endometriosis. According to the abstract in a study published in the International Journal of Women’s Health:

“The most common clinical signs of endometriosis are menstrual irregularities, chronic pelvic pain (CPP), dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia and infertility. Symptoms of endometriosis often affect psychological and social functioning of patients. For this reason, endometriosis is considered as a disabling condition that may significantly compromise social relationships, sexuality and mental health.”

Why Are Women Impacted Emotionally By Reproductive Disorders?

A plethora of reasons exists as to why women can experience deep emotional impact by a diagnosis of a reproductive disorder or a condition that could cause issues with fertility. Some women already worry about getting pregnant anyway, so an endometriosis diagnosis surely doesn’t help. Here’s a shortlist of some reasons reproductive issues can affect the emotional health of women with endometriosis:

  • Pressure to conceive right away
  • Worries about each stage of the pregnancy, from implantation to delivery
  • Pressured to have a child, even if the person is unsure or not ready
  • Possible medical interventions, such as IVF
  • Stress and emotional drainage that can result from endometriosis fertility treatments
  • Possible laparoscopy endometriosis surgery

Multiple studies demonstrate that a woman’s ability to conceive and bear a child plays a big part in her emotional health and self-esteem. While many women don’t want to have children, a large portion does. But, they might not be ready for a baby when they receive their endometriosis diagnosis. According to a study out of the Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine:

“While infertility is not a disease, it and its treatment can affect all aspects of people’s lives, which can cause various psychological-emotional disorders or consequences including turmoil, frustration, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness in life.”

Endometriosis Patients with Fertility Issues Need Emotional Support

Most endometriosis patients with fertility issues benefit by having a mental health provider as part of their multidisciplinary team.

Endometriosis impacts many facets of a person’s life. A recent study concluded that:

“Furthermore, there is an urgent need to develop and evaluate interventions for supporting women and partners living with this chronic and often debilitating condition.”

All Endometriosis Patients Could Benefit From Emotional Support

Many endometriosis patients with fertility issues express no desire to have children. Therefore, some women are unaffected by infertility that might arise from endo. However, it’s essential to keep these women in mind because their feelings matter, too. Perhaps some did not want to have kids now but were hoping to someday in the future? Or maybe they are just not with the right person to have children with them? 

Whatever the case may be, it’s significant that healthcare providers do not overlook a patient’s emotional needs, even if they say it doesn’t bother them if they cannot have kids. Perhaps a person in this situation may not need as intense emotional support, but they should see a mental health provider have a chance to talk about these feelings and think them through. Some interventions can help one conceive or be ready to conceive even with an endometriosis diagnosis. However, it’s significant to remember that the further the disease has progressed, the more complex it is to treat it to regain fertility. Therefore, when you are unsure if you want to have a baby, it’s still wise to have all the lesions removed as soon as you can and conduct proper follow-up.

Seeking a Mental Health Provider Experienced With Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a complex and often misunderstood disease. Therefore, women who battle this condition daily, especially those with fertility issues, require a mental health professional familiar with this inflammatory disorder. 

Endometriosis encompasses many domains of a patient’s life, and fertility issues are not the only things that impact women’s emotional health. When seeking out a professional, it’s critical to find someone familiar with the disease and its emotional impact on patients.

Importance of Friends and Family

In addition to adding a robust mental health provider to your team, it’s also essential that you seek support from your loved ones. Please encourage them to attend appointments with you to have a better understanding of the condition. When the people closest to you can comprehend the emotional roller-coaster accompanying infertility, they will be better prepared to support you emotionally. 

When a patient receives a diagnosis such as endometriosis, pain management, and other care items often become the priority. Therefore, it can be easy to overlook the emotional aspect of this condition, especially in someone with fertility issues. This is why it’s essential to do your research and find an experienced endometriosis expert to head up your team.

Do You Have Fertility Issues Caused By Endometriosis?

We want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the emotional challenges? Do you have a solid mental health provider on your team? Leave your responses in the comments below.

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Kay

Hello, I have always had irregular menstrual, sever pelvic, leg, back, and sharp breast and vaginal pain since I was 13 years old. In 2017 age 36, I got married and wanted to start having kids. After trying to conceive for a year, my OBGYN stated that I don’t have PCOS or endometriosis but recommended that I start fertility treatments. In 2020, I began fertility treatments (IUI) and underwent ultrasounds to which discovered fibroids. I was told they were the cause of my sever pain. After being told that I don’t need them removed, no help with the sever menstrual pain, and no success with IUI. July of 2021, I came to the conclusion that I will always have this pain unless I decided not to have children and get a hysterectomy. However, I wanted to see if IVF could help and the possibility of seeing if my fibroids was affecting my uterine lining. If so, could they be removed. This year I changed everything and started my search for answers. I found a new OBGYN that specializes in infertility and fibroids and just took my first MRI that discovered endometriosis, a cysts on my cervix, and 10 fibroids. I know the results sound like a lot but I thank God that I know have answers. I am now 40 years old and hoping that with this information, I have a better chance of being helped or healed and can now be able to have children. Through it all I do recognize that my mental health has taken a hit and I am on an emotional roller-coaster. If anyone can recommend a mental health professional with experience with endometriosis in the DMV area that would be great.

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