Worry less. Smile more. Accept criticism. Take responsibility. Be quiet and listen. Love life. Embrace change.
Women are twice as likely as men to develop depression and anxiety disorders. – Shape Magazine
Hormones are like an on-again off-again boyfriend. Sometimes you love ‘em, sometimes you hate ‘em. Unfortunately, they exist in your body and they’re part of how your brain and other systems function.
Here are some basics about hormones:
- - Estrogen acts as a natural high and stabilizes your mood.
- - Progesterone can be more of a downer
- - Seratonin, a chemical that rises and falls with estrogen with low levels causing depression and anxiety
While there are certainly other hormones at play and more to explore, that’s the basic level of interaction. Now, when things go awry with these hormones, that can cause anxiety or, for a longer period of time, depression. Which is no bueno.
One thing that can perhaps help with your hormones is knowing when you might be at risk for things going downhill. Track your mood changes, be aware of the warning signs that rough times might be coming, and be sure to share with your doctor any family or personal history of PMS, depression, and anxiety.
Major times that can cause hormonal issues:
- Before your period, you can experience premenstrual syndrome. Up to 85 percent of women have at least one symptom of PMS, according to Joseph T. Martorano, M.D., a psychiatrist. These range from sadness and anxiety to irritability, as well as physical issues such as bloating and headaches. These symptoms can last for between 2 and 21 days, and sometimes can be incapacitating. While women suffering from PMS have the same regular fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone that we all do, our brains might be more sensitive to the hormone level changes.
- During and following pregnancy, prenatal and postnatal depression can be a major problem. Many don’t seek treatment, as we don’t want to appear sad or weak when we’re supposed to be happy or joyful. Pregnancy has huge hormone shifts as both estrogen and progesterone levels shoot up, and the stress hormone cortisol also rises. These jumps in hormones can mess with our brain chemistry. Then, after birth, hormone levels fall quickly, and we often sit in sadness, crying, having trouble sleeping, and plagued by anxiety. In a normal case, that can last for a couple of weeks, but if it goes on, you should seek treatment.
- Stress also changes our brain chemistry, reducing serotonin in our bodies. Other hormones are then released to help the brain manage the stress. But when the stress continues over long periods of time over and over again, the stress hormones begin to be emitted even for small stressors. And then basically, our bodies forget how to relax because of the continual production of stress hormones. Our moods suffer, along with our body from headaches, nausea or indigestion, and fatigue. And as our estrogen and progesterone dips and rises with our menstrual cycle, the stress hormones can combine to cause significant effects on your mood. Different hormones interact and magnify the effects.
- Medications can also affect mood swings. Hormonal birth control can contribute to feeling down, although in many cases it can help to regulate moods. Depending how our brain chemistry already interacts with hormones will predict the responses to hormonal birth control Fertility medications and some other drugs can also make hormones dip or rise at intense levels.
While all these instances can naturally occur in our lives, that doesn’t mean we should be aware of them and seek treatment if we’re suffering. Hormonal imbalances are a biochemical disorder, and they can and should be treated.
If you’ve been struggling with mood swings, low lows and high highs, it’s not something you need to suffer through because that’s how life goes. We have the knowledge and abilities to help treat your issue and make sure you’re living and enjoying life to the fullest every day!
Schedule a visit today with the button below. We look forward to hearing from you!
Dr. Julie Drolet
P.S. If you’ve got concerns about your hormones or another women’s health issue, make sure to come in and see us soon!