20 Jan Is Your depression Caused By Hormonal Imbalance?
Can Hormonal Imbalance Cause Depression?
Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. Around 20% of UK adults have shown symptoms of anxiety or depression during their life, and they are twice as common in women than in men. This may be due to a correlation with hormonal changes in women, particularly during teenage years, after pregnancy, and during perimenopause and menopause. Causes and triggers of depression are multifactorial and can include genetic factors, adverse childhood experiences, physical illness, or poor diet and lifestyle choices. A hormonal imbalance can cause depression. In this article, we will explore how hormonal imbalances can cause depression and what treatments are available to help manage it.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream to different parts of the body. They help regulate many bodily functions, including metabolism, growth and development, sleep, appetite, mood, and reproduction. When hormones become imbalanced or disrupted in some way, it can have a significant effect on mental health.
What Are Hormonal Imbalances?
Hormonal imbalances occur when the body produces too much or too little of certain hormones. This can lead to physical and mental health issues such as depression.
How Can Hormonal Imbalances Cause Depression?
There is a link between hormones and depression as hormones play an important role in regulating mood and emotion. There are four main hormones that have a significant effect on mental health. They include oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and thyroxine. Oestrogen promotes the activity of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which encourages emotions of happiness and motivation. Testosterone helps to promote dopamine activity and helps with wellbeing and confidence. Progesterone has a close relationship with the neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate. It has a calming effect and can alleviate mood swings, irritability, and depression. Cortisol the ‘stress hormone’ is released during a stress response and becomes raised at the expense of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Thyroxine affects metabolism and an imbalance can also lead to depression or other mental health issues.
Women are more likely to experience mental health symptoms such as low mood, anxiety, and irritability due to hormonal changes associated with female-specific biological changes and life events such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause. Some birth control pills contain synthetic hormones which may cause an imbalance in natural hormone levels leading to depression or other mental health issues.
What Treatments Are Available for Hormonal Imbalance-Related Depression?
The treatment for hormonal imbalance-related depression will depend on the underlying cause of the imbalance. If you think your depression is related to hormonal changes there are several things you can do to manage it:
Talk To Your Doctor. If you think your depression is related to hormonal changes it’s important to talk to your doctor about it so they can help you find the best treatment plan for you. They may refer you to a hormone specialist. If a hormonal imbalance is suspected, blood tests measuring oestrogen, progesterone, thyroxine and testosterone levels will help to identify this. If an imbalance is identified, an individualised approach to balancing hormones with bioidentical hormones may significantly improve your depression.
Other habits and practices you can adopt that will help include:
Improving your sleep.
Engaging in regular exercise, especially resistance training (weight lifting).
Eating a nutritionally balanced diet and reducing your sugar consumption.
Reducing your alcohol intake.
Hormonal imbalances can cause changes in mood and behaviour which can lead to depression. It is important for anyone experiencing symptoms of depression to seek professional help so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatments prescribed. With proper treatment, it is possible for those with hormonal imbalance-related depression to manage their symptoms and live a healthy life. If you are feeling depressed and think it may be due to a hormonal imbalance contact us or book an appointment with us today and we will get you back to feeling well again.
We were delighted to be asked to contribute to this very important discussion by Vogue Singapore. To read the full publication click on the link below: