Can Low Estrogen Cause Anxiety and Depression?
Women entering perimenopause and menopause are often unprepared for the wide range of symptoms they experience as their hormone levels fluctuate and decrease. Symptoms such as brain fog, difficulty falling asleep, mood swings and panic attacks can leave women feeling as if they are going crazy. Knowing that low estrogen can cause anxiety and depression can help women seek out treatment earlier and experience a smoother transition into postmenopause.
What is the Link Between Estrogen and Anxiety?
Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes your mood and gives feelings of well-being and happiness. Serotonin also helps regulate anxiety, sleep, appetite and digestion. If the brain does not have enough serotonin it can lead to depression. Estrogen helps to stimulate the production and transportation of serotonin throughout the body and also prevents its breakdown. Therefore, when estrogen levels are low serotonin levels are also low, causing unstable moods and potentially more anxiety and depression.
Imbalances in thyroid hormones can also cause anxiety, and thyroid imbalances are more common in middle-aged women. Compounded with low estrogen, an imbalanced thyroid can cause you to feel extreme anxiety. Anxiety causes both mental and physical symptoms, including:
- Agitation and irritability
- Fear of losing control
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Hot or cold flashes
- Increased blood pressure
- Intense fear or worry
- Irrational thoughts
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Shortness of breath
At Anchor Wellness Center, we take a holistic approach to healthcare, checking all of the body’s systems and treating the underlying cause of disease rather than just managing symptoms. Whether a thyroid issue or low estrogen is causing anxiety – or a combination of both – we can create a personalized treatment plan to restore your mental and physical health.
Low Estrogen and Depression
During perimenopause (the months or years before menopause), a woman’s estrogen levels are often erratic and unpredictable. This hormonal imbalance inhibits the body’s natural ability to manage stress and experience positive moods. Up to 10% of perimenopausal women – and between 8-15% of menopausal women – experience depression, and it is often directly linked to low estrogen levels.
Symptoms of depression includes:
- Depressed mood (which sometimes manifests as irritability)
- Significant change in appetite (either increased or decreased)
- Abnormal changes in sleep patterns
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Loss of interest or pleasure in life (not enjoy things you used to)
- Becoming indecisive or easily overwhelmed
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Thoughts of death and suicide
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, especially thoughts of harm or suicide, seek medical treatment right away. Depression caused by low estrogen may be treatable with bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones are derived from natural sources, such as soybeans and yams, so that they have the same chemical makeup as the human body. This makes them easier for the body to absorb and reduces side effects.
Recover from Low Estrogen at Anchor Wellness Center
Are you experiencing symptoms of low estrogen?
- Bone loss
- Brain fog
- Hot flashes
- Irregular periods
- Memory lapses
- Sleep problems
- Urine leakage
- Vaginal dryness
If so, call Anchor Wellness Center today at (832) 246-8437 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM. As a Board Certified physician in Family Medicine as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra can help restore your hormone levels naturally and alleviate your symptoms of anxiety and depression.