What exactly is the relationship between female hormones and mental health? What effect do hormone shifts have on your emotional well-being? What are some methods we may use to promote healthy mental health?
The role of female hormones estrogen and progesterone are well-known for reproductive health. Still, there are so many factors that the same hormone affects mental health. We are saying this to emphasize that your female hormones affect the brain and regulate your mood and mental health.
Whenever we talk about mental health, we tend to overlook hormone dysregulation. Hormones are regulators of your body’s process to function. They help to control metabolism, reproductive function, mood, and sexual function.
The hormone dysregulation occurs when your body releases an imbalance of hormones. These hormonal imbalances can cause various mental health issues such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, mood fluctuations, etc.
How are female hormones and mental health interlinked?
Female hormone and its regulations are complex, and it’s essential to be aware of the interlink between the female hormone and mental health.
Reproductive and stress hormones can also induce mental health issues. “Decreases in estrogen and progesterone can make us irritable and agitated,” explains Gillian Goddard, MD, an endocrinologist in New York. The stress hormone cortisol can induce severe anxiety and despair if left untreated.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, chronic stress can cause various health problems, including mental health disorders like anxiety or depression.
Common symptoms of hormone dysregulation
Emotional issues might arise as a result of hormonal instability. Regrettably, it also works the opposite way. “Hormone imbalance may cause stress, and stress can cause hormone imbalance,” says one expert.
Hormonal dysregulation can cause emotional difficulties such as irritability, sadness, and anxiety in people who already have depression or anxiety.
Symptoms of hormone dysregulation
- Mood swings
- Insomnia or fatigue (sleep disorder)
- Weight fluctuation
- Low concentration
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Memory loss
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Temperature intolerance
- Brain fog
- Muscle aches, stiffness, or weakness
Let us also look at these health disorders due to hormonal imbalance-
1. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is characterized by developing clusters of tiny, pearl-sized fluid-filled cysts containing immature eggs in the ovaries. Women with PCOS tend to produce more of the masculine hormone androgen. This hormonal condition is more frequent in women of reproductive age. This section will look at the most common indications and symptoms of PCOS.
PCOS is a hormonal condition with a slew of symptoms. Typical symptoms include:
- Menstrual cycle irregularity
- Excessive hair on the body or the face
- Hair lose Obesity issues
- Skin issues
PCOS symptoms vary amongst people, and PCOS can lead to further concerns such as diabetes or heart difficulties. If you’re facing any of these symptoms, consult your endocrinologist to see if you have PCOS.
This Thyroid gland is located at the front of the throat. This gland generates two hormones, which govern various critical activities, including growth, development, energy consumption, and others. Thyroid diseases can arise when the thyroid gland produces too little or too much hormone. Women are more susceptible to thyroid issues than males; it is critical to recognize the symptoms and get treatment as soon as possible.
There are two different types of Thyroid:
When the thyroid gland is overactive, this is called hyperthyroidism. And can be caused by various disorders, including Grave’s disease or viral infection of the thyroid gland. The following symptoms characterize hyperthyroidism:
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Anxiety, jitters, and irritation
- Swollen eyes
- Trembling and muscle weakness
- Heat sensitivity
- Fatigue and sluggishness
- Palpitations and a fast heart rate
- Loss of weight
- Sleeping problems
It occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. The following symptoms characterize hypothyroidism:
- Hair and fingernails that are brittle
- Menstrual cycle changes Weight gain
- Redness and sluggishness
- Face puffiness and pale skin
- Cold sensitivity
- Heart rate should be reduced.
Thyroid abnormalities can result in additional eye problems, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and osteoporosis. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can enhance a patient’s quality of life. If you feel you have a thyroid problem, speak with your endocrinologist to learn more.
It is the cessation of menstruation in women in their forties. It is not an illness; instead, it is the natural end of fertility. As women get older, the ovaries’ production of the two hormones estrogen and progesterone slows down, and the ovaries stop releasing eggs. Menopause is most common in women between the ages of 45 and 55.
Each woman’s menopausal symptoms are unique. Some people may find the signs to be more overpowering than others. A woman’s mood might swing from despair and poor self-esteem to anger and irritation. Typical symptoms include:
- Night sweats and hot flushes
- Periods of inconsistency
- Swings in mood
- Joint aches, weakness, or stiffness
- Mental haziness
- Flatulence and constipation
- Incontinence of the bladder
- Sleeping problems
- Nausea and dizziness, as well as a rapid heartbeat
- Changes in skin and hair
- Dryness of the cervix
- Lack of libido
- Urinating often
If you’re facing these symptoms, speak with your endocrinologist to learn how different treatments or lifestyle changes might help reduce the symptoms.
Hormonal disorders and mental health:
Hormones play an essential role in mood and mental health regulation, with hormonal changes happening throughout the day to control sleep and wake cycles, metabolism, hunger, and energy expenditure. The hormonal glands may malfunction due to environmental stimuli or certain medical illnesses. When this happens, a person may become angry, melancholy, or have difficulty concentrating.
The following are common symptoms of hormone deficiency:
- Suffering from depression
- Concentration problems
- Reduced mental acuity
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory lapses
- Having difficulty remembering
- State of perplexity
If you’re facing these symptoms, consult with your endocrinologist to get a thorough diagnosis and treatment choices to improve your quality of life.
Causes of hormonal imbalance
Inadequate sleep, poor eating habits, insufficient exercise, or pre-existing medical illnesses can contribute to chronic stress, resulting in hormone imbalances that contribute to mental health problems.
Thyroid imbalances can arise with hormonal changes such as menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. Estrogen levels rise throughout a regular menstrual cycle, drop significantly after ovulation, and climb again.
“These fluctuations can cause mood swings, food disorders, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and, in some cases, depression.” “These persistent stresses have the potential to cause thyroid malfunction.”
Elevated estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone can result in hormone imbalances that contribute to thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy. Thyroid disorder affects around 5% of pregnant women.
According to The American Thyroid Association, postpartum thyroiditis, or thyroid inflammation after childbirth, affects 5% to 10% of the population. Because it generates a sad mood and exhaustion, this illness is often confused with postpartum blues or depression.
Menopause is also a time when various hormonal changes occur. The ovaries continue to produce hormones, but levels may be half of the baseline, generating hormone imbalance and stress symptoms, damaging the Thyroid.
It is possible to detect increased mental health symptoms throughout these phases of higher hormone volatility.
Treatment for hormonal changes
A combination of drugs and lifestyle modifications can address hormonal imbalance. (Note- Consult the professional doctor before starting any treatment)
The following treatments can treat mental health disorders caused by hormones:
- Metformin, a diabetic drug, balances insulin and sugar, which can cause a variety of mental health issues when out of balance.
- In situations of underactive Thyroid, the thyroid drug levothyroxine can assist in balancing thyroid function.
- Hormone replacement treatment is investigated when a hormonal imbalance creates mental health problems.
- Oestrogen and progesterone can be taken alone or jointly to control mood. “A low-dose birth control tablet containing both hormones can enhance mental wellness for many women even after menopause.”
- Methimazole, a drug that inhibits thyroid hormone release from the Thyroid, is used to treat hyperthyroidism.
2. Changes in lifestyle
The following lifestyle choices may help to enhance hormone levels:
- You should have a nutritious diet that avoids sugar and processed carbs while including enough protein and omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods (like salmon). Studies suggest drinking decaffeinated green tea and lots of water.
- Get lots of exercises regularly.
- Meditation and other stress-reduction strategies should be used.
- The supplement inositol, found naturally in cantaloupes, citrus fruits, and legumes, may help alleviate symptoms. Also, you can try essential oils to soothe yourself.
We have established how interlinked female hormones and mental health are and shown you their symptoms and medications. Still, one thing that is important now is your lifestyle. Your lifestyle plays an important role in your mental health, and you should try changing it accordingly.
If non-pharmacological treatments are ineffective in treating symptoms, doctors and therapists should be contacted to design a treatment strategy.
Every week, keep an eye out for our mental health blog posts.