If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, a false pregnancy can seem like a cruel joke. Although it’s rare, the body can sometimes give you all of the signs of pregnancy, without you actually being pregnant.
Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about false pregnancies including why they occur and the symptoms to watch out for.
What Is A False Pregnancy?
False pregnancy is also medically referred to as Pseudocyesis. It’s basically where your body experiences all, or at least a lot of the symptoms of pregnancy, without you actually being pregnant.
What’s really interesting about the condition is that it can affect both men and women. Some male partners have shown signs of false pregnancy when their partners are expecting. It is often referred to as a sympathetic pregnancy and usually involves aches and pains.
What Causes A False Pregnancy?
The condition is really rare in both men and women, and the root cause is still petty much unknown. Some experts believe it could be down to a trauma of some kind, while other experts believe it is all down to a chemical imbalance within the body.
There are some factors which can contribute to the condition including:
- A mental breakdown
- More than one miscarriage
- Losing a child
There could also be physical causes such as ovarian tumors, although these are an extremely rare cause of the condition. Most likely, it is put down to a woman’s desire to get pregnant. If you want to fall pregnant really badly, it’s easy to convince yourself you are pregnant. So, it’s usually more of a mental condition, rather than a physical one.
The Symptoms To Watch Out For
So, which symptoms does a false pregnancy present? Unfortunately, they tend to produce exactly the same symptoms as an actual pregnancy including morning sickness, tender or enlarged breasts, a swollen belly, weight gain and an interruption to the menstrual cycle.
The symptoms can be extremely convincing. So, even if it is triggered by the desire to get pregnant, the symptoms are still very much real. What’s even more frustrating and upsetting, is that these symptoms can potentially last for nine months. In fact, it’s possible they could last for a few years! In very rare cases, you could even feel like you are experiencing labor pains.
If you have all of the signs of pregnancy but tests are showing you aren’t actually pregnant, it’s likely to be a false pregnancy.
How Is It Diagnosed?
The tests to diagnose a false pregnancy are exactly the same as the tests to diagnose a real one. If you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms, the doctor will usually perform a pelvic exam, along with an ultrasound scan. This will search for visual confirmation of the pregnancy. If a fetus can’t be found, then it is classed as a false pregnancy.
The doctor may even find that there have been changes within the uterus or cervix. However, without the presence of a baby’s heartbeat, it will be a false pregnancy. It’s worth noting that urine pregnancy tests can also be accurate at determining whether or not you are actually pregnant. However, in rare cases if there is cancer present, it may give a positive pregnancy reading due to the hormones released by the cancer.
So, you should always have the tests done by a doctor to ensure you are receiving an accurate diagnosis.
Does It Require Treatment?
Physically, false pregnancies don’t necessarily need any form of treatment. However, due to the psychological impact it can have, some women do choose to undergo counseling.
A psychological evaluation will usually be provided to determine why the false pregnancy has occurred, in order to rule out any underlying neurological or psychological conditions. Then, psychological support will be provided until the symptoms disappear if required.
Overall, false pregnancies can be devastating; especially to those who have been trying to become pregnant for a long time. The psychological impact it can have on a woman is significant, though thankfully the condition is extremely rare. If you discover you are experiencing a false pregnancy, it’s crucial to seek he right support. You may also find it useful to talk to those who are going through the same experience.