Saturday, September 30, 2023

Hormones And Depression In Females

Menopause And Depression: The Untold Symptoms

PMDD, PMS and the adrenals: How stress causes hormonal imbalance in women

Rachel was prepared for menopause to bring changes to her sex drive and energy levels. She didnt expect increased anxiety. Shes started to struggle to get out of the house. Normal social activities leave her feeling flustered and upset. She worries more than she ever did before. She cant find an outside reason for those changes.

Her hormones are to blame for anxiety and depression.

Menopause brings with it plenty of changes. Many of those changes can also increase the risk of depression. Unfortunately, depression during menopause often goes undetected. Postmenopausal womenthose who are more than a year from their last periodhave higher rates of depression than women who havent yet gone through menopause. In fact, you are more susceptible to depression after menopause than at any other time of your life.

A Look At Mood Changes And Your Monthly Cycle

Hormonal disruption? Its par for the course for many women. Your hormone levels change many times over the course of a month. PMS isnt a myth! Its also much more than bloating and irritability. Too often, however, women ignore symptoms of PMS. They may even ignore much more serious concerns.

As you get closer to your period, you may notice a wide range of mood changes and shifts. For some women, it gets worse than PMS. Symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, may include:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Physical symptoms like breast tenderness or headaches

PMDD requires the presence of at least 5 out of these 11 possible symptoms. When its PMDD, they only hit right before your period arrives. PMDD must also interfere with your daily life.

Get Professional Help If Needed

If you don’t benefit sufficiently from self-help treatments, seek help from a mental health professional. While women suffering from depression respond to the same types of treatment as men, specific aspects of treatment are often modified for women. Women are also more likely to require simultaneous treatment for other conditions such as anxiety or eating disorders.

Therapy. Talk therapy is an extremely effective treatment for depression. It can provide you with the skills and insight to relieve depression symptoms and help prevent depression from coming back. One of the most important things to consider when choosing a therapist is your connection with this person. The right therapist will be a caring and supportive partner in your depression treatment and recovery.

Medication.Antidepressant medication may help relieve some symptoms of depression in women, but it won’t cure the underlying problem. Because of female biological differences, women are generally started on lower doses of antidepressants than men. Women are also more likely to experience side effects, so any medication use should be closely monitored. Don’t rely on a doctor who is not trained in mental health for guidance on medication, and remember that medication works best when you make healthy lifestyle changes as well.

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Reduce Your Inflammation Levels

Dr. Bay says that anti-inflammatory diets and nutritional therapies have also been effective when it comes to addressing inflammation that might lead to depressive or anxious mood issues.

Studies have also shown that stress-induced inflammation can be addressed by stress reduction techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation, she says. These are all conservative, safe, and effective approaches to improve depression and anxiety in those with endocrine disorders.

In the end, the mind and body are interconnected. Rather than thinking of them as separate, its smart to think of them as one machine with many moving parts.

For this reason, be sure to advocate for yourself with your health care providers and ask for a systemic examination of your issues.

More on this topic

Dealing With The Winter Blues

Why the Greater Risk for Depression and Anxiety in Menopause

The reduced daylight hours of winter lead to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder . Women are diagnosed with SAD at four times the rate of men. SAD can make you feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. No matter how bad you feel, though, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mood stable throughout the year.

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Tip : Get Up And Get Moving

When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task, let alone working out! But exercise is a powerful depression fighterand one of the most important tools for depression recovery.

Studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue. You don’t even have to hit the gym. A 30-minute walk each day will give you a much-needed boost. And if you can’t manage 30 minutes, three 10-minute bursts of movement throughout the day are just as effective.

Common Hormonal Imbalances That Can Cause Depressive Symptoms

Of the hundreds of hormones our bodies produce, here are four that are known to lead to symptoms of depressive disorders when they are out of balance.

  • Thyroid: The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that plays a powerful role in keeping your brain and body healthy. It is involved in the production of many neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and GABAall of which are involved in mood regulation. Problems occur when thyroid dysfunction causes the gland to produce too little hormone or too much hormone . In fact, thyroid dysfunction is directly linked to one-third of all depressions.
  • Estrogen: Estrogen also influences the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Too much or too little estrogen can alter neurotransmitter levels and lead to feelings of depression.
  • Progesterone: Often called the relaxation hormone, progesterone has a calming effect when it is produced in optimal levels. When hormones are off-kilter or when the relaxation hormone is in low supply, it can lead to depression, as well as irritability, anxiety, sleepless nights, and brain fog.
  • Testosterone: In both men and women, testosterone helps wards off depression, in addition to cognitive impairment and Alzheimers disease. Low testosterone levels have been shown to increase symptoms of depression and anxiety, such as trouble concentrating, lack of motivation, and fatigue.

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Hormonal Changes That Trigger Depression In Women

It has long been known that depression is much more commonly experienced by women than by men. The lifetime risk of depression for women is around 25%, which is around double the lifetime risk for men. Why is there such a large disparity in the rates of depression experienced by women and men? One of the most influential factors is the way in which women are affected by the hormonal changes they go through during and after their reproductive years.

Episodes of minor, moderate, or major depression can be triggered by pregnancy and menopause, and by menstruation. It’s thought that this happens because fluctuations in female hormones such as progesterone and estrogenwhich occur during puberty, throughout the month as part of a woman’s menstrual cycle, during and after pregnancy, and during menopausecan in some women trigger changes in brain chemistry that lead to depression. Women have an increased risk of hormonally-triggered depression if they have previously suffered from depression, or if they have family members who have been depressed.

Depression is a serious problem, but there are solutions. For more information about depression causes and symptoms, and how to get help, see this article on depression in women at

You can also follow Dr. Jeff by clicking here:

Reproductive Steroid Hormone Changes Of The Menopause Transition

New treatment for women suffering from menopause-related depression

The menopausal transition is characterized by several hormonal changes, triggered by a diminishing number of ovarian follicles and fluctuating levels of FSH . Beginning in the early menopause transition and continuing into the late transition, is the appearance of menstrual cycles that are characterized by elevated luteal phase E2 levels, which can reach levels that are as high as double those generally seen in the late follicular phase . E2 levels in the early follicular phase, on the other hand, have been shown, at times, to reach lower levels than typically observed in reproductive-aged women . Furthermore, the low-E2 early follicular phase lengthens due to a delayed ovarian response to FSH, resulting in a longer cycle . While P4 levels remain intact throughout the early menopause transition, luteal P4 is lower, on average, throughout the late menopause transition . Anovulatory cycles, characterized by low P4 but variable E2 levels, also become increasingly common, with 6070% of cycles being anovulatory in the late transition .

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Hormones And Depression: What Is The Connection

Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Heres an unfortunate truth: For many women, hormonal fluctuations can either lead to or exacerbate depression.

The connection between depression and hormones is often reproductive hormones like progesterone and estrogen, although there are other hormones that may induce depressive feelings.

Learn all about it here.

Why Do I Feel So Hopeless What Every Woman Should Know About Hormones And Depression

Its not uncommon for me to have women in my office dissolve into tears when I ask one simple question: How are you feeling?

What is it about this question that evokes such a response in these women? From my own personal experience with overwhelming stress, I can tell you its partly relief. Finally, someone is asking and really wants to know the honest answer!

So when I ask, what comes out is a flood of emotions they havent even acknowledged yet: Im overwhelmed things that used to bring me joy dont anymore and I cant understand why I feel hopeless nothing matters to me anymore Im so irritable towards everyone I love I just feel sad all the time.

If youre feeling these things, I want to assure you that youre not alone. In fact, I find it more rare these days to talk to women who arent experiencing this kind of thing. Why are so many of us feeling so sad and overwhelmed?

Part of it is the crazy demands we put on ourselves every day. But another large part may be that finally people arent afraid to talk about depression. The stigma of mental illness is diminishing and we are encouraged to discuss these issues, find the root causes, and look for solutions that go beyond reaching for a prescription pad.

Lets take a look at what depression is, some of the symptoms, and some root causes. Then well talk about how hormones and depression are connected, and some natural ways to balance those hormones and enjoy life again!

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Researchers At The National Institute Of Mental Health And Across The Country Are Dedicated To Womens Mental Health Research

Researchers continue to study depression to improve the way this medical condition is diagnosed and treated. For example, NIMH researchers are currently working to understand how and why changes in reproductive hormones trigger mood disorders, including postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and perimenopausal depression.

NIMH scientists are conducting a large number of research studies with patients and healthy volunteers to better understand why some women are at higher risk than others, and how they can translate these findings into new treatments or new uses of existing treatments.

Hpt Axisbased Treatments For Major Depression

Depression &  Hormonal Birth Control

T3, T4, TRH, and TSH have all been investigated as potential treatments for major depression. Aside from T3, hormones of the thyroid axis either appear to lack efficacy or have not been well-studied in major depression. T4 has been studied, with promising results, in bipolar disorder, particularly in rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. A number of small placebo-controlled studies have evaluated intravenous and oral TRH administration, and the majority have not demonstrated efficacy for TRH in the treatment of depression . A 1970 study in women reported rapid augmentation of response with a tricyclic antidepressant after intravenous administration of TSH compared with placebo , but no subsequent clinical trials have been reported.

Triiodothyronine .

The bulk of evidence suggests that T3 has clinical utility in depression for two purposes: to accelerate antidepressant response when used with tricyclic antidepressants, and as an augmentation agent to treat depression in patients with insufficient response to antidepressant monotherapy.

Acceleration of antidepressant effect with tricyclic antidepressants

Thyroxine .

Overall, these studies show promising evidence for adjunctive use of supraphysiological doses of T4 in rapid-cycling bipolar disorder , while more research is needed for use of T4 in acute bipolar depression.

HPT axis: conclusions.

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Overcoming Depressive Symptoms Related To Hormonal Dysfunction

When hormonal imbalances are behind your feelings of sadness and loss of energy, antidepressants wont get your mind right. But if no one ever tests your hormone levels, you will never know that hormonal dysfunction could be contributing to your depressive symptoms. This could leave you going from one antidepressant medication to another in search of relief without success.

Its also important to investigate whether a past head injury may be contributing to hormonal dysfunction. Brain imaging studies can reveal signs of a TBI that could be the root cause of the hormonal problems that are contributing to your symptoms. In this case, healing your brain is the key to achieving healthier hormone levels.

This is why it is so important to make sure you visit a healthcare professional who will check your hormones and scan your brain as part of a comprehensive evaluation. When you get your hormones right, it may improve symptoms of depression by stabilizing your moods, boosting your energy, and clearing away the brain fog.

At Amen Clinics, we take a unique brain-body approach to treatment that includes brain SPECT imaging as well as laboratory testing to check hormone levels and other important biological factors that could be contributing to symptoms of depression. By understanding the underlying issues causing depression, we can create a more effective, personalized treatment plan for you.

Find out how we can help you today at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online.

What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline

SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

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Develop A Wellness Toolbox To Deal With Depression

Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. The more tools for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.

  • Spend some time in nature.
  • List what you like about yourself.
  • Read a good book.
  • Do something spontaneous.
  • For Trans Men And Women Hormone Therapy Can Change Lives

    Why we all need to talk about postpartum depression | Auburn Harrison | TEDxUniversityofNevada

    Therapeutic medical procedure referral Hormone therapy

    Juno Krahn was in her 40s the first time she stepped on stage as a burlesque performer.

    Until then, Krahn, a trans woman, had never been out to a club or even danced in public, she said. Her newfound confidence, however, encouraged her to perform and promote the acceptance of all bodies.

    It was like, I have so much confidence I have to do something with this, Krahn said. So I started doing burlesque two weeks after I started hormones, actually.

    For the first time she can remember, Krahn began to feel in harmony with her body after starting gender-affirming hormone treatment.

    I just trying to learn to accept my body because Im thinking, well, this is what I got, right? Krahn said. And then the internet happened and I realized, oh, you can take hormones as an adult. Its not too late.

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    Depression Risk Is Higher During Perimenopause Than After A Women Reaches Menopause

    Dr. Maki reports that data uniformly show that there is an increased risk in the years around the final menstrual period, as compared with the many years following the final menstrual period, because of this fluctuation. Estrogen levels may be low during menopause but at least they are somewhat stable. That being said, the largest longitudinal study of women did indeed show that the risks do persist into the postmenopausal period, she cautions.

    According to Maki, an analysis of data from the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation , in a report published in June 2015 in the journal Psychological Medicine, found that of perimenopausal and menopausal women, the risk for new onset depression is about 28 percent. For women who have a history of depression, that figure is 59 percent.

    Depression In Women: 5 Things You Should Know

    Being sad is a normal reaction to difficult times in life. But usually, the sadness goes away with a little time. Depression is differentit is a mood disorder that may cause severe symptoms that can affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating, or working. Depression is more common among women than men, likely due to certain biological, hormonal, and social factors that are unique to women.

    This brochure contains an overview of five things that everyone should know about depression in women.

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    Hormones And The Brain

    That’s not to say estrogen isn’t a major player in regulating moods. Estrogen acts everywhere in the body, including the parts of the brain that control emotion.

    Some of estrogen’s effects include:

    • Increasing serotonin, and the number of serotonin receptors in the brain.
    • Modifying the production and the effects of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain.
    • Protecting nerves from damage, and possibly stimulating nerve growth.

    What these effects mean in an individual woman is impossible to predict. Estrogen’s actions are too complex for researchers to understand fully. As an example, despite estrogen’s apparently positive effects on the brain, many women’s moods improve after menopause, when estrogen levels are very low.

    Some experts believe that some women are more vulnerable to the menstrual cycle’s normal changes in estrogen. They suggest it’s the roller coaster of hormones during the reproductive years that create mood disturbances.

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