pseudocyesis


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pseudocyesis

(so͞o'dōsīē`sĭs), imaginary pregnancy in women usually resulting from a strong desire or need for motherhood. In the absence of conception, the menstrual periods nevertheless cease, the abdomen becomes enlarged and the breasts swell and even secrete milk, mimicking genuine pregnancy. The uterus and cervix may show signs of pregnancy, urine tests may be falsely positive, and the woman may report sensations of fetal movements. A woman may believe in her pregnancy to the point of delusiondelusion,
false belief based upon a misinterpretation of reality. It is not, like a hallucination, a false sensory perception, or like an illusion, a distorted perception.
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 and show acute depressiondepression,
in psychiatry, a symptom of mood disorder characterized by intense feelings of loss, sadness, hopelessness, failure, and rejection. The two major types of mood disorder are unipolar disorder, also called major depression, and bipolar disorder, whose sufferers are
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 when no baby is born. It has been suggested that depression can sometimes alter the activity of the pituitary glandpituitary gland,
small oval endocrine gland that lies at the base of the brain. It is sometimes called the master gland of the body because all the other endocrine glands depend on its secretions for stimulation (see endocrine system).
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 so as to cause hormone level changes that mimic the hormone changes of real pregnancy.

pseudocyesis

[¦sü·dō·sī′ē·səs]
(medicine)
A condition characterized by amenorrhea, enlargement of the abdomen, and other symptoms simulating gestation, due to an emotional disorder.
References in periodicals archive ?
Often, pseudocyesis presents in patients with lower education and socioeconomic status.
The effect of a lower level of education on development of pseudocyesis appears to be multifactorial:
Low education correlates with poor earnings and worse prenatal care; delayed or no prenatal care also has been associated with an increased incidence of pseudocyesis.
In Ouj's study of pseudocyesis in Nigeria, the author postulated that an educated woman does not endure the same stress of fertility as an uneducated woman; she is already respected in her society and will not be rejected if she does not have children.
While this young woman's pseudocyesis clearly had some aspects that were anxiety relieving, she also achieved at least one area of secondary gain from her condition.
This case illustrates the role of pseudocyesis in an incest survivor.
As there appears to be a relationship between pseudocyesis and incest, it behooves family physicians to inquire about such history in patients presenting with this disorder.
The real challenge to family physicians in evaluating pseudocyesis is not the physical diagnosis, but rather the counseling that is necessary to reduce the symptoms when incest in involved.
Moulton R: The psychosomatic implications of pseudocyesis.
Abraham HS: Pseudocyesis followed by true pregnancy in the ter - mination phase of an analysis.