Are two stripes on the test always evidence of pregnancy? As – practice shows, not always. Could some sensitive tests be wrong? Specialists of Bogoliuby MC believe that yes and no.
Imaginary (false) pregnancy – is a phenomenon with ancient roots, which for centuries has been of interest to physicians. The first mention of this phenomenon was found in the writings of Hippocrates, later in medieval treatises, Freud also drew attention to it.
There are no reliable statistics regarding imaginary pregnancy. In fact, this condition is observed in all ethnic and socio-economic groups. Many historians claim that, for example, the English Queen Mary Tudor, known as the Bloody Mary, suffered from a false pregnancy.
The most common imaginary pregnancy occurs in girls during the menarche period, women after 30 years of age and in postmenopausal women. Obviously, this phenomenon tends to manifest itself in cultures that give the absolute value of pregnancy and for which fertility is a necessary condition for a stable relationship.
Today, the incidence of false pregnancy in developed countries is markedly reduced. This may be due to a reassessment of family values and the realization that the role of women is not limited to childbirth. It should be noted that imaginary pregnancy occurs not only in humans, it is also observed in other mammals (dogs, rats).
Causes and risk factors for pseudopregnancy
The development of the condition is preceded by a neuroendocrine and psychological imbalance. Emotional stress, a woman's search for her identity as a mother, and strong social pressure, according to many scientists, underlie this pathology.
Imaginary pregnancy occurs when a woman has a very strong desire to have a baby or, conversely, she is obsessed with an obsessive fear of becoming pregnant. Researchers of the phenomenon claim that all this determines the defeat of the hypothalamic-pituitary connections, changing the hormonal functions of the body. The mechanism of abnormal secretion of estrogen and prolactin is triggered, which leads to a number of physical changes similar to those found during normal pregnancy.
Factors contributing to false pregnancy include:
- infertility or loss of reproductive ability (for example, after an abortion or hysterectomy);
- low self-esteem;
- interpersonal pressure.
In susceptible women, false pregnancy is associated with liver failure, systemic lupus erythematosus, tumors of the abdominal cavity, hyponatremia and cholecystitis .
Symptoms of pseudo-pregnancy
The clinical picture of an imaginary pregnancy has both psychological and physiological aspects. Women with this disorder are strongly convinced that they are pregnant and have one or more of the following signs of pregnancy:
- an enlarged abdomen;
- irregular periods;
- nausea, vomiting, dizziness;
- weight gain;
- mood swings;
- tenderness of the mammary glands and secretion from the nipples;
- increased frequency of urination; sensations of fetal movement.
The most common symptom is an increase in the abdomen. This is actually determined by gaseous distension, excess fat, pronounced lumbar lordosis and fecal retention. A subjective sensation of fetal movements is associated with a reduction in the muscles of the abdominal wall or intestinal motility.
Symptoms of an imaginary pregnancy last from several weeks to nine months, or even several years. The prognosis largely depends on the resolution of specific interpersonal or psychological factors that were involved in the development of the condition.
Diagnosis and therapy
To diagnose the condition, a gynecological examination and ultrasound examination of the pelvic organs is performed. During the ultrasound, neither the fetus nor the fetal heartbeat is detected. With a the uterus is not enlarged. A pregnancy test does not always show a negative result. The explanation for this lies, as mentioned above, in the plane of the nature of the disorder, which is a powerful emotional state that affects hormonal secretion.
Being a psychosomatic disorder, imaginary pregnancy does not require pharmacological or surgical treatment. Most patients can be persuaded not to expect a baby by providing ultrasound data. In general, to solve the problem, in addition to supporting loved ones, psychotherapy is recommended. Recovery can also be spontaneous, sometimes this is preceded by a symptomatic episode reminiscent of childbirth.