Experiencing infertility or coping with the symptoms of the perimenopause and menopause at the end of our fertile years can cause upset and distress, but the mental health impact of our reproductive health isn’t discussed very much
With infertility, we tend to place the emphasis on whether or not we’ve been able to conceive and with the menopause we speak about the physical symptoms such as night sweats, irregular periods, hot flushes and weight gain. But we don’t often recognise or appreciate the emotional toll these life events can take, especially on the workforce.
At Babble Health however, we take the mental health aspect of both very seriously and offer support, testing, medical advice and treatments, whatever your stage of life
We truly believe that reproductive health should be supported with other medical health benefits packages and that workplaces should make both a priority when considering the wellbeing of employees.
Surveys show that since the pandemic, mental health support in general is now top of the wish list for employees
1 in 6 couples in the UK will experience the heart ache of infertility – and stress, anxiety and depression are commonly associated with testing, treatment and potentially coming to terms with not being able to have biological children.
Half of the population will at some time experience the symptoms of the menopause with many women reporting that their symptoms have impacted their ability to do their job. This can lead to feelings of frustration and inadequacy, with some women leaving the workforce because of their symptoms. A major impact of the menopause is insomnia, leading many women too tired to concentrate, made worse by brain fog and memory loss.
According to the World Health Organisation, or WHO, reproductive health “is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes during all stages of life”.
So it’s clear that staff need to be supported throughout their careers especially as research is consistently finding that our reproductive health is inextricably linked to our mental health
Carmen Messerlian, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has recently told the podcast of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, ASRM Today, that companies and medical providers need to place more focus on mental health when dealing with reproductive health.
“I think … we don’t spend enough time orienting to a patient and talking to the couple about what their struggles are outside of the fact that they didn’t produce enough eggs. I think we need to go back-stream to look at what is behind some of these emotional issues that might have roots in earlier life, and that might actually impact your current reproductive health. I think that’s … something that requires a big broad lens in terms of how we treat infertile people.”
“What we see is that about 40% to 60% of both males and females who have a diagnosis of infertility struggle with severe anxiety and depression. Many also have PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, symptoms.”
And at Babble Health, we fully support the need for this to be spoken about and become a mainstream part of dealing with all struggles with reproductive health.