Depression can be a severely frustrating and even debilitating condition. Depression can affect every area of a person’s life, from their personal relationships with their spouse and their children to their eating and fitness habits to their ability to enjoy daily activities. Depression can even play a role in fertility problems.

To understand the role that depression can play in fertility, it is important to understand some basic things about depression. Some of the other symptoms of depression can include:

  • feeling sad most of the time
  • a lack of energy
  • feeling withdrawn from family and friends
  • difficulty with concentration
  • irritability or anxiety
  • thinking about suicide or death
  • a change in weight, whether weight gain or weight loss
  • a change in appetite.

Research shows that extreme stress and/or depression can interfere with or disrupt normal ovulation for women. Stress can suppress the hormones that are needed for ovulation to occur, making ovulation come later on in a woman’s cycle or, rarely, causing her to miss ovulating at all during a cycle. For men, stress can actually lead to a lower sperm count. However, recent research suggests that the role that stress plays in affecting fertility is relatively rare and almost always minor.

Certainly, problems with fertility can cause depression as well. For many couples who are trying to conceive, it can be difficult to pin down the cause of their fertility problems. Because they are already depressed by the time they realize that they have fertility problems, it can be easy to attribute those fertility problems to their depression. It is, therefore, extremely important that couples who are trying to conceive aggressively deal with their depression, not only in case depression is causing their fertility problems, but also to eliminate depression as the possible cause of their fertility problems so that a correct diagnosis can be made.

Some of the most reliable treatments for depression are anti-depressant medications. These might include Paxil, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Anafranil, Norpramin, or any number of others. Not all of these antidepressants have difficult side effects, but not all will be effective for every individual.

Another possible treatment for depression is therapy. This can take the form of almost anything, from psychoanalysis to counseling to cognitive-behavioral therapy. By talking to a psychologist or therapist, many people have had success managing the symptoms of depression. Talk therapy does not make the feelings of depression go away; rather, it helps the person to develop the tools that she needs to keep those feelings in check.

The most successful treatment of depression will likely include a combination of these methods. Therapy, antidepressant medications, and a social support structure all together will exponentially increase a person’s chances of dealing with depression successfully. If you believe that you are suffering from depression, you should contact your health care provider immediately. If left untreated, depression can lead to loss of work, strained relationships, physical ailments, and even death. If you or someone you know has the symptoms of depression, it is important to seek help. Your health care provider may be able to refer you to a qualified psychiatrist. Friends or family might know of a reliable counselor or mental health professional that you can turn to.

If left untreated, depression can lead to serious problems, including divorce, the inability to hold a job, and even suicide. If you are feeling depressed, you should contact your health care provider immediately to determine how you can best address your depression.