Pseudocyesis Treatment in Ridgewood, NJ
What Is a False Pregnancy?
Pseudocyesis, also referred to as false, hysterical or phantom pregnancy, is a condition which causes typical pregnancy symptoms—such as morning sickness and weight gain—when a woman is not actually pregnant. It can also occur in men, most often when their significant other is pregnant; in these instances, the condition is referred to as sympathetic pregnancy or couvade.
While the condition is extremely rare, it can cause substantial psychological trauma. If you or a loved one experience symptoms of a false pregnancy, it is important to seek medical help. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare practitioner in Ridgewood who specializes in pseudocyesis treatment, call (201) 806-6099 or contact Dr. M.T. Shahab online.
Causes of False Pregnancy
The causes of false pregnancy are thought to be psychological in nature. Although medical science still does not completely understand how this happens, it is theorized that psychological factors trick the body into thinking it is pregnant, and mild pregnancy-like symptoms develop. The brain then misinterprets these symptoms as an actual pregnancy and triggers the release of hormones like prolactin and estrogen. These hormones then stimulate physiological changes associated with pregnancy.
The most common psychological pseudocyesis causes typically revolve around a woman's strong desire to become pregnant. This desire may result due to:
- Sexual abuse
- Loss of a child
- Relationship issues
- Pre- or post-menopause depression
There are also physical, biological pseudocyesis causes that trick the body into perceiving that it is pregnant, such as an ovarian tumor, ectopic pregnancies, and morbid obesity.
Pseudocyesis is not the same as having a delusion of pregnancy, as can occur with schizophrenia, nor is it a case of deception. With pseudocyesis, the woman actually exhibits clinical and sub-clinical symptoms of pregnancy. The most common pseudocyesis symptoms include:
- Morning sickness
- Missed periods
- Frequent urination
- Sore and swollen breasts
- Weight gain and swollen belly
- Skin and hair changes that normally occur with pregnancy
- Sensation of fetus moving
In some cases, women experience false pregnancy symptoms such as labor pains and a broken water bag, only to find out there is no fetus and no pregnancy.
False Pregnancy Diagnosis & Treatment
A physical examination—together with your medical history and a review of your symptoms will play a role in diagnosing a hysterical pregnancy. A simple blood or urine test can rule out actual pregnancy, as can an ultrasound. An ultrasound or other imaging test is the only guaranteed way to disprove an actual pregnancy.
Your course of treatment will depend on the root cause of your false pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will first need to determine if there are physiological causes of your pregnancy symptoms like ovarian cancer or chemical imbalances. If no physiological cause can be found, it may be necessary to explore potential trauma issues with a psychologist or trauma counselor. The most common treatments for pseudocyesis include:
- Biofeedback and relaxation therapy to reduce stress
- Psychotropic medications like antidepressants
- Hormonal therapy
If you or a loved one are experiencing any symptoms of pregnancy, schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare practitioner in Ridgewood for pregnancy testing and counseling. Call (201) 806-6099 or contact Dr. M.T. Shahab online.
Medwell Orthopedics & Functional Medicine for Men & Women
Address33 Central Ave
Midland Park, NJ 07432
8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Tue: 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
Sat: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Sun: By Appointment Only