Have you ever heard anyone talk about having a false pregnancy?
False pregnancy, also known as pseudo-pregnancy, hysterical pregnancy, phantom pregnancy, or in more medical terms, pseudocyesis is a real thing. Dr. Jason Manson Good first described this term in 1823 based on Greek words pseudes = pseudo (false); and kyesis = pregnancy.
First of all, it is crucial to understand that this psychological alteration is uncommon, and most of us think these types of things only occur in women, but no, this disorder can occur in men.
What is it?
This mental disorder consists in the appearance of classic symptoms and signs of gestation like amenorrhea, waves of nausea, an increase of the volume and color of the breast, abdominal distention, and pregnancy pain, in a not pregnant woman meanwhile the women firmly believe that she is pregnant.
This process is associated with the desire and the pathological fear of being pregnant. It also has a connection with conflicts about sexual identity, sexuality, and after an abortion. Women who have had surgeries to stop having more babies or surgeries required by any disease of the uterus or the ovaries that result in a disability for pregnancy may also experience pseudocyesis.
Taking a pregnancy test or different diagnostic examinations such as ultrasound can help rule out pseudocyesis. Having the results where pregnancy is ruled out gives credibility to the situation. After this, it is essential to emphasize the accompaniment by health personnel, in this case, a psychologist or psychiatrist, to assess the cause and treat the issue.
In some cases, it is not possible to solve the issue even if the exams discard it; thus, it is essential to discard the existence of a psychiatric illness.
Overall it is vital to have psychological accompaniment since it is not easy for everyone to vent their fears. In many cases, people might think this could be a sign of weakness in society when seeking professional help. Besides this, ass the fact of the infinite stereotypes on behalf of mental health. But the most important thing is knowing that taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our emotional and mental health.
Adira advisor, last year medicine student interested in women’s wellness and promoter of a healthy lifestyle. You can find more of her content on @karantina_col where you'll find recipes and tips to a better wellbeing.
Sadock B, Sadock V. Sinopsis de Psiquiatría. 10th ed. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS AND WILKINS; 2008.