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Mental Health and Reproductive Health – What You Need to Know

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One in five people experience a mental health condition.  Mental health conditions are linked to many other health disparities and are often stigmatized.  Your mental health is important, and if you have a mental health condition, it’s crucial to find treatment.

What is a mental health condition or illness?

A mental illness is a health condition that involves changes in your thinking, emotions, or behavior.  It can also be a combination of all three areas.  Mental health conditions stem from distress and issues with functioning in social, family, or work activities.  A mental health condition can affect your daily activities, but the good news is it can be treated. If you have a mental health condition, it’s important to know that you have nothing to be ashamed of and are not alone.  It’s also essential to get access to care and seek help from a medical professional.

How does mental health affect reproductive health?

Hormones are chemical substances that act as messengers in your body.  Your mental health condition can affect your hormones which can impact your mood and quality of life.  It can also impact your menstrual cycle because of how levels of hormones rise and fall.  The most common mental health conditions that affect your hormones are anxiety, substance use, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, depression, and eating disorders.  If your hormones are not functioning normally due to your mental health condition, you may experience menstrual pain, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, abnormal bleeding, or a missed period.

What about pregnancy or trying to become pregnant?

Depending on the type of mental health condition, it can also affect your pregnancy or the ability to get pregnant.  If you have been treated for depression, an eating disorder, or bipolar disorder and are pregnant, you are at higher risk of those conditions relapsing.  A relapse can happen during pregnancy because your hormones change.  Depression, anxiety, and stress can also affect the hormones that control ovulation. This could make it difficult to become pregnant.

 

Overall, your mental health is important.  If you have a mental health condition, it’s essential to overcome the stigma and get the help you need.  Along with professional care, it’s recommended to have a support system, get enough sleep, and choose healthy activities like going for a walk.  Take control of your health and find a clinician near you for more information.