Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Depression and Anxiety?
Can hormone imbalance cause depression and anxiety? This is an important question for patients to be asking to ensure they receive proper treatment. Depression and anxiety can indeed be caused by hormonal imbalances, and patients will only find relief when the underlying imbalance is treated. Thankfully, hormonal imbalances can be corrected with nutritional and lifestyle changes and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Hormonal Imbalances That Cause Depression and Anxiety
- Estrogen and progesterone – Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels are closely tied to mood changes and commonly experienced during PMS, pregnancy and perimenopause. When estrogen is at its optimal level it helps optimize neurotransmitter production, producing a calming effect on the brain. Likewise progesterone, when in balance with estrogen, helps the brain relax and promote sleep. If a woman develops too much estrogen in relation to progesterone, this leads to a condition called estrogen dominance. It is characterized by mood swings, irritability, fatigue, headaches, depression, sluggish metabolism, and thyroid dysfunction. When not enough estrogen is produced, it causes depression, brain fog and cognitive dysfunction, hot flashes, and heart palpitations. Anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, and headaches are also symptoms of low progesterone.
- Testosterone – Testosterone helps protect the nervous system and prevent cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. As men age, their testosterone levels naturally decrease, but some men’s testosterone levels plummet to abnormally low levels. This causes fatigue, depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, low libido, and pain and stiffness in joints.
- Adrenaline and cortisol – As the body’s stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol are mainly associated with anxiety, but they can also be linked to depressive symptoms. Chronic high levels of stress can leave you feeling anxious, irritable, jittery, fatigued, unable to sleep, and eventually lead to adrenal fatigue. When there is a chronic deficiency of stress hormones, you may feel tired even after sleeping, depressed, sluggish, and have difficulty concentrating.
- Thyroid hormones – Thyroid disorders are chronically overlooked and misdiagnosed. In fact, one symptom of undiagnosed hypothyroidism is depression that does not respond to antidepressant therapy. It is estimated that 20 million Americans have hormonal imbalances caused by thyroid disorders and up to 60% are undiagnosed. Both underactive (hypothyroidism) and overactive (hyperthyroidism) can cause depression, difficulty concentrating and memory problems, and hyperthyroidism can also cause anxiety, irritability and racing thoughts. Thyroid problems are extremely common for women (one in eight women will experience thyroid problems in her lifetime), so your doctor should do routine bloodwork to monitor your thyroid function if you are at a higher risk for thyroid disorders (such as family history) or if you are experiencing symptoms.
Treating Depression and Anxiety Caused by Hormonal Imbalance
Rather than simply treating the symptoms of anxiety and depression, you need to target the underlying cause to get true relief from the symptoms. The best way to restore optimal hormone levels is through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Unlike synthetic hormones, BHRT hormones are derived from natural sources – such as soybeans and yams – so that they have the same chemical makeup as your body. This makes it easier for your body to absorb the hormones and greatly reduces side effects.
If you suspect your depression and anxiety is rooted in hormonal imbalance, call Anchor Wellness Center today at (832) 246-8437 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Minni Malhortra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM. Board Certified in Family Medicine as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra can help you regain quality of life with a personalized treatment plan.