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The therapists at Identity Counseling Psychology PLLC specialize in treating women’s issues, and provide a safe, knowledgeable environment for women seeking help. Visit our clinician page to learn more about our experienced counselors, and contact us if you are in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area and are interesting in starting therapy. To schedule an intake session with our women’s issues specialist, Nicole Frasier, click here

Learn more about common women’s issues, how they affect mental health, and how therapy can help.

Infertility

Infertility is the inability to become pregnant within 12 months of having regular, unprotected sex. Although infertility affects both men and women, and the causes of it are overwhelmingly physical, there can be tremendous psychological and emotional side effects, especially for women.

Due to the misleading culture of silence surrounding infertility in the United States, many women keep their challenges private and feel that they are alone. However, there are actually millions of patients in the U.S. who receive infertility treatment each year. Infertility can be an incredibly upsetting experience, even for the women who are eventually able to conceive. Aside from the initial heartache felt when women find out that they struggle with infertility, the physical and emotional rigors of treatment can take a significant psychological toll as well.

The most common psychological side effects for women with infertility issues include anxiety, stress and depression. Other emotional reactions can include:

  • Shock
  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Loss of self-esteem or self-confidence
  • Loss of sense of control
  • Guilt

Infertility can also have an impact on relationships. This can mean tension between spouses or partners, or tension with friends and family. It is also common for women dealing with infertility to avoid social interaction, especially with those who are pregnant or have children.

Psychological side effects from the drugs and hormones used to treat infertility can also be particularly intense for women. Common treatments have side effects like mood swings, sleep interruptions, irritability, mania and problems with concentration.

Cost of treatment is another significant issue. Only 15 states mandate insurance coverage for infertility treatment, and the extent of that coverage varies, leaving women with a stressful financial burden. Patients who are unable to pay for treatment often suffer an even deeper sense of helplessness and hopelessness alongside the other side effects of infertility.

Seeking the help of a mental health professional can bring relief for women going through the emotional and physical hardships associated with infertility. If you are struggling to cope with the side effects of infertility, or if you have found that infertility is negatively impacting your relationships, it might benefit you to begin therapy. If you are in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area and are looking for a licensed counselor, experienced in treating women with infertility, contact us today.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside of the uterus, where it’s not supposed to be, usually spreading to other pelvic organs like the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Despite its displacement, this endometrial tissue continues to respond normally to the menstrual cycle, thickening, breaking down, and bleeding each month. Unlike normal endometrial tissue, this tissue has no way to exit the body, causing inflammation, irritation, and abnormal scar tissue and adhesions throughout the pelvic area. Endometriosis can be extremely painful, especially during menstruation.

Endometriosis is estimated to affect about 200 million women worldwide and 1 out of 10 women in the United States. Aside from the severe pain that many experience, about one third of women with endometriosis experience infertility, and it can take up to 10 years for women with endometriosis to receive a correct diagnosis, causing a whirlwind of distress and confusion.

Symptoms of endometriosis vary between women and can change over time. Common symptoms include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Severe period cramps
  • Painful periods
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Migraines
  • Lower back pain

The emotional impacts of endometriosis can be very difficult to cope with as well. Women with endometriosis report experiencing sadness, depression, anxiety, body image issues, frustration, strain on their relationships, and stress. Seeking help from a mental health professional has proven beneficial for women struggling to understand and cope with their endometriosis symptoms. Contact us today if you are in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area and would like to begin counseling for issues relating to endometriosis.

Gender Bias

Gender bias is a societal issue in which men and women are treated and perceived differently due to incorrect and unfair stereotypes about gender. While gender bias can and does affect both men and women, it is especially damaging and severe for women, as harmful cultural ideologies and sexist stereotypes about women being inferior to men have become ingrained and pervasive in modern society, often affecting everyday life.

Gender bias can lead to negative mental health outcomes, putting women at risk for issues like stress, anxiety, depression, disordered eating, body dysmorphic disorder and low self-esteem.

Gender bias in the workplace is extremely common and has many negative impacts, including financial stress and sexual harassment. Despite gaining some recent public attention, the gender wage gap is still a major issue for women. Women on average receive lower starting pay, advance more slowly in their jobs, and receive lower overall salaries compared to their direct male counterparts. Women are also drastically underrepresented in top leadership roles, making them more vulnerable to sexual harassment and sexist microaggressions, and without the perks like higher salary, more freedom, and better benefits that executive level positions offer.

The sexual objectification and unrealistic portrayal of women in the media is another dangerous form of gender bias that can have severe mental health consequences for women. With the 24 hours news cycle and smartphone technology, the media is more accessible and omnipresent than ever. This means that harmful images of women are reaching more people more often, making women and audiences more likely to internalize and accept negative stereotypes. Damaging portrayals include touched up and photoshopped images on social media that create unrealistic standards of beauty and normalize rare body types. Images of fit and thin women are overrepresented, making busy women who are often taking on both domestic and career related responsibilities, compare their appearances to those of the actresses and models who dedicate unrealistic amounts of time to their looks. Sexual objectification of women in the media is also a major issue. When the mass media tells audiences that women’s’ bodies are what give them value, men see women as less competent intellectually, and women begin to value achievement less and their bodies more.

If you are experiencing distress or struggling with self-esteem due to gender bias, you may benefit from the help of a mental health professional. If you are in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area and are interesting in starting therapy, contact us today.