Fertility testing can be a highly anxiety inciting event. Everything from the physical aspects of the tests, to the time you have to take off work, to the outcomes of the tests can create anxiety. It is natural to feel anxious when you are undergoing these tests and nothing to be ashamed of. This anxiety usually also causes our bodies to tense up, and hold our breath as doctors explore parts so deep inside of our bodies that we wonder “how much higher is she going to go?”. All of this anxiety and tension, of course, serves a purpose, which is self-preservation. Our body does not like undergoing these tests because of they are invasive in nature and does what it can to protect itself. The only problem is that our mind understands the importance of these tests and understands that we have to bear them in order to get the answers that we so desperately seek. However, just because you are undergoing these tests does not mean that you have to suffer.
This article will help you during those initial infertility tests by providing you with some tools that you can use to try to relax your body so that the tests can be completed faster and with minimal pain. Try to practice the skills below at home a few times before you go in for your fertility testing so that you know how to use them. Just like flight attendants teach you about their emergency procedures during a low-stress situation (e.g. taxiing on the runway), you should also practice these skills during a low-stress situation first. You will already be anxious going into the tests and so knowing these skills ahead of time will really help reduce your anxiety level. Also, please be aware that these tools can be used for other types of medical tests; not just fertility tests.
1. Deep breathing
You will hold your breath when the tests start, especially if you haven’t had these types of tests before. This is a natural response that happens to your body. Your body is not used to this level of testing and you will be hypersensitive to what is happening to your body because it is all new and you are anxious. Remember to breathe. Focus on breathing air in through your nose for 4 seconds all the way down to your belly, hold it for 4 seconds, breathe it all out through your mouth for 4 seconds, and hold for another 4 seconds. Just keep repeating this process, focusing on your slow and controlled breathing. Your mind will focus on the breathing, on feeling the air come in and out of your body. Most fertility tests take about 5 minutes and the time will fly by very quickly if you focus on this technique of simply breathing in and out in a controlled fashion.
2. Positive imagery
Positive imagery is something that is used a lot in therapy with people who have anxiety. All you have to do is visualize a place that makes you happy. It’s a great skill to use while undergoing fertility testing because it gives you a chance to imagine that you are somewhere else; somewhere peaceful. Close your eyes and think of a place that makes you happy. Try to bring life to it by adding details about what you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel in that place. Positive imagery will give you a chance to calm down and relax which will help speed up your fertility testing.
3. Sing a song
Most of these tests are so quick that simply singing a song in your head will be a good distraction. Usually, the test will be completed before you even finish singing your favorite song in your head. It will give you a chance to distract yourself from the physical discomfort.
Before I talk about medication, I would like to add a little disclaimer that I am not a medical professional and so cannot give any recommendations about the type or dosage of medication that you should take. However, never underestimate the power of medication. Unless you have a history of substance abuse, it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor about what she can do to help you feel more comfortable and less anxious while undergoing these fertility tests. Most doctors will offer you a variety of medications varying in intensity. Fact is that a lot of us have never undergone these types of tests before and our bodies are not used to this type of invasion. This is not a moment where you have to pretend to be brave or strong. This is a moment where you have to do whatever it takes to get yourself through these tests. So, if you want medication to help reduce the pain (or discomfort as most Doctors like to call it) and help reduce the anxiety then just ask for it. Your doctor will not judge you for it and it will make the whole procedure less painful for everyone involved.
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Feel free to try out any of these techniques while you undergo your fertility testing. It’s ok to feel nervous and anxious about these tests. They can be scary and at times the people administering the tests can be cold and clinical. Remember why you are allowing these tests to happen, remember that they are rather quick, and remember that you can do things to manage your anxiety while you are having the tests administered.