According to statistics worldwide, depression is more common in women, though it can also affect men [reference]. You may think that it is only about emotional problem. But did you know that it can result in your body physically? In fact, it’s also associated with a number of physical problems!
This mood disorder is not only able to affect you physically, it may also cause other health conditions. Or if you have certain health problem, depression may also worsen your illness.
In turn, certain diseases (especially for chronic conditions) may make depression and anxiety more likely.
Most menstruating women experience PMS /premenstrual syndrome. About 3 out of 4 women have PMS during menstrual period. Premenstrual syndrome is a disorder marked by some physical and emotional changes that can fluctuate in intensity.
While the scientific evidence for the link between depression, PMS, and PMDD is still not clear, fluctuating levels of hormone and chemical changes in the brain are thought to have contribution!
Several years ago, pregnancy was viewed as a natural barrier to protect the body from psychiatric disorders. But today the number of pregnant women with depression is probably almost equal to the number of non-pregnant women who have depression.
It’s still unclear whether pregnancy has a direct contribution to trigger depression. But some experts believe that the following conditions may increase the risk of depression during pregnancy:
- Uncertainty issues associated with pregnancy. For example – If you are trying to get pregnant, but you often find negative result from your pregnancy home test kit, this situation may put you at higher chance of having depression.
- Having poor social support.
- Having poor communication with others. For instance, you live alone, having few friends, etc.
- Having marital conflict.
- The age of when you are being pregnant – the younger of your age when pregnant, the higher risk that you have of developing depression.
- Personal history of PMDD.
- Personal history of depression or other mood disorders.
Depression during pregnancy should be concerned as well. Once it relapses during pregnancy, this may increase the risk of some pregnancy complications.
The potential impact of this mood disorder for pregnant women may include:
- It may interfere with the ability of a pregnant woman to care for her body! As a result, she may be less able or even not able to follow and do the medical recommendations, such as how to eat properly during pregnancy and how to have plenty of rest & sleep a day, etc.
- Sometimes it may also encourage a depressed pregnant woman to abuse alcohol and tobacco.
- Some studies found that depression also can affect the bonding between the mother and baby.
On the other hand, pregnancy may also cause the following problems in depressed women:
- As well we know that the efforts to get pregnant and the pregnancy itself may cause additional stress. And if you have had depression before, this stress may trigger for the depression to reoccur and get worse.
- Having this mood disorder during pregnancy may increase the risk of having another depression after giving birth (this type often called as postpartum depression).
Many people think that this mood disorder is only associated with emotional changes – but in fact, it can be much more than you think. The following are some common physical problems that may have to do with depression:
- Sleeping problems – such as lack of good sleep (particularly deep sleep), insomnia, or the opposite occurs (oversleeping).
- Poor interest in hobbies and even sex. About half of depressed people have lack interest in sex.
- Loss of appetite, which then can cause weight changes (particularly weight loss).
- Chronic or excessive fatigue.
- Increased pain and aches.
What are the reasons for these physical depression symptoms? Changes that occur in the brain can affect some body’s systems. For instance, if there is low levels of neurotransmitters (a kind of brain massager, such as serotonin), this may alter the threshold of pain that you feel.
As a result, you then will be more sensitive to the pain (e.g back pain). In addition, serotonin also has crucial function to regulate your sleep cycle and the level of your sex drive.