Last month saw the release of a new scientific study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that associated the use of antidepressants with infertility. Women currently using antidepressant medications were shown to have difficulty conceiving naturally when compared to women not using antidepressants.
This is not the first time a commonly used medication has been shown to lower fertility in women.
The New York Times reported that 1 in 4 women are taking antidepressants - that means you or someone you know is probably using these medications currently. Two thirds of those prescribed antidepressants do not fit the criteria for depression as it is outlined in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
I’ll always remember when, back in my 20s before I had health insurance, I would go to a clinic where you had to wait a while before you were seen by a doctor. I had to wait over two hours, I was tired, I hadn’t brought a snack and my blood sugar was crashing. I was so upset about being made to wait so long and, coupled with my body’s response to lack of food, when I sat down in front of the doctor I was a little teary. The doctor’s immediate response? To suggest she write me a prescription for antidepressants!
I was shocked by this reaction. I knew that it was not an issue with my brain chemistry that was making me tearful - it was my blood sugar crash, fatigue and frustration. But, regardless, she wanted to get me on those meds right away!
Although there are certainly women who benefit from antidepressants and other such medications due on the specifics and severity of their mental health issue, it’s my belief that these drugs are hugely over-prescribed and often with little care or thought to the root cause of the problems the woman is facing. In my experience women can experience depression for a few reasons and it’s not always a brain chemistry-related issue. Two women I much respect have recently come out with books concluding exactly this - Dr Julie Holland and Dr Kelly Brogan - in agreement with me.
If you want to avoid using antidepressants - whether you’re trying for a baby or you just would rather not take a medication that might be unnecessary for you - then start with food first. If you can first exhaust your natural options and get yourself in good whole body health with the right diet, exercise, amount of sleep and relaxation then you’ll be in a better place to make a decision about the antidepressants that may be offered to you. You might find you don’t want or need them anymore.
There are 2 other, possibly much more common, root causes of depression for women, unrelated to brain chemistry:
- Hormonal imbalance. Depression can be hormonally-sourced and it can be related to your experience of your cycle. If this is true, then antidepressants won’t necessarily benefit her. If antidepressants can affect your fertility, that means they can affect your hormonal system and cycle - so it’s possible they will worsen depression that stems from hormonal imbalance rather than brain chemistry. One of the best ways to determine whether your depression is hormonally-derived is to monitor your cycle and your symptoms. If you begin to notice you feel worse pre-menstrually or soon after you’ve ovulated then it’s very likely you’re looking at an issue related to your progesterone levels. Low progesterone (and, therefore, estrogen dominance) post-ovulation or as a result of not ovulating consistently, affects how we feel - with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and PMS.
- Microbiome and Micronutrient Imbalance. More and more research is revealing that your mood can be determined by your gut. 90% of the serotonin your body makes is actually produced in your gut! From vitamins to minerals…if you’re not eating for maximum exposure to all these nutrients, you can’t make enough mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters. Also if your gut flora is out of balance, you aren’t absorbing nutrients, which causes inflammation, which increases your risk for dementia and mood issues. You can be tested for some deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, but there are also common deficiencies most of us can assume we’re probably dealing with, like lack of magnesium and vitamin D3.
Thankfully, and fortunately, both these root causes of depression can be treated with the same methodology. The Flo Living protocol matches your micronutrient needs and teaches you to live in harmony with your hormones. I believe that some women can benefit from antidepressants, but it’s better to see if you can alleviate your mood with changes to diet and lifestyle before taking something that may not help and only cause you to have unwanted side effects. A drug that affects our fertility, as women, is impacting our core self - ovulation is about so much more than making babies - it’s how we make essential hormones. The WomanCode System not only supports your mind and body with the proper serotonin-boosting foods, but it lays the foundation for hormonal balance and a healthy experience with your feminine energy and emotions – a foundation that will last you for years to come.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this - the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, do you experience depression?
Second, have you ever taken antidepressants?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social 😉
Are you trying to conceive?
If you want to do everything in your power to improve your chances of becoming a mom, I want to help you optimize your fertility.
Whether you are just starting to think about having a baby, or have already tried naturally or have been trying with IVF, my Fertile FLO Program will help improve your chances of conception.
Click here to download my FREE guide, The 5 Health Foods to Avoid to Get and Stay Pregnant.