Hormones VS Mental Health
Do you ever wonder if your hormones are controlling not just your mood but your mental health? I’m here to tell you it’s absolutely possible. I, myself, have a consistent battle against my mental health as soon as my hormones change towards the end of the month.
“According to research by the American National Institute of Mental Health, 64% of women who suffer from depression say their symptoms get worse during the premenstrual period” (Metro).
This is just depression though! All this shows it the impact hormones can have on mental health but there are so many other mental health issues that can be influenced by your hormones and especially so with a hormone imbalance. Research has even been done on schizophrenia and other such illnesses where hormones have had a close influence on the severity of the illness.
PMDD – 8% of women suffer with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder as a result of their hormones. Unlike Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) PMDD is a more severe form and most likely is something that I have.
‘These include mood swings, feeling much more depressed, angry or anxious than usual, difficulty concentrating, feeling very tired, unusual changes in appetite and sleeping too much or too little.’
Which is where my binge eating comes into it, something that I will be posting about soon.
By our hormones having such an effect on our Mental Health as a woman it means that we’re more susceptible to certain conditions such as depression and anxiety. Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men. Remember being really cranky as a teenager? Having consistent ups an downs around certain times of the month? Most people blame this on their period being due and having PMS symptoms but it’s not as simple as that. Our hormones affect us in more ways than we consider.
Progesterone VS Estrogen
High progesterone in the second half of your cycle increases anxiety, depression which in turns makes you feel tired, it encourages mood swings, excessive hunger, headaches, aches and pains, a lack of motivation.
This also explains why we feel so good right after our period in the first two weeks of our cycle, during this time we have increased Estrogen in our systems, natures happy hormones. So we have more energy, we are the most productive during this time and have the most control over our mental health meaning we feel most like ourselves.
Don’t think you catch a break when you hit menopause either. Many women have shown an increased risk of having depression and anxiety issues when they hit their menopause or start experiencing menopausal symptoms, as early as in your late thirties.
Hormonal imbalances are something that makes your symptoms more prominent and rather than just experiencing symptoms around your period you may experience these symptoms on a daily occurrence. Hormonal imbalances need diagnosing and treating.
These can be Hyperthyroidism, Adrenal Issues and/or PCOS. Personally I most likely have PCOS and I’m currently getting diagnosed with it. I can’t be on contraceptive pills right now otherwise I would be. My symptoms vary from month to month but generally, I have 2-3 rough weeks each month and my symptoms are:
- Heavy Painful Periods
- Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain
- Mood swings and Irritability
- Oily skin and Acne
- Excessive Hair Growth
- IBS related issues such as Constipation and/or Diarrhea
I will be speaking more about my PCOS diagnosis in due course and how I deal with it. I will also be looking more into my IBS by trying a low FODMAP diet so stay subscribed to see my progress with that.
If you experience any of the symptoms on a regular basis and find yourself feeling more anxious and depressed around certain times of the month then I would highly advise getting checked out at a doctors for any possible hormonal related problems. Women are often misdiagnosed with anxiety or eating disorders when those issues can actually be as a result of a hormone imbalance so it’s better to push for the tests to be done.
Remedies for hormone problems
There is no simple fix for hormone problems but there are ways to help deal with it. I won’t be touching on any natural remedies, there are many out there but I haven’t yet had any experience with any.
The simplest remedies that can help or begin to help are Healthy Eating, Exercising Regularly and just a generally healthy diet with plenty of sleep and water. It’s important to deal with the mental health issues by seeking help either through medication or therapy.
It’s equally as important to get your hormones checked and possibly go on medication for them. Sometimes it’s as simple as going on hormone contraceptive pills to help you on a daily basis. My first time on the pill was at 17 and it was due to having heavy painful periods as PCOS is something you’re most likely born with.
So, to sum it up. There is a huge correlation between hormones and mental health and it’s important to seek help for any problems you have. Problems won’t go away on their own and in some instances, your symptoms can get worse. I’ve been off the contraceptive pill for around 18 months now and over the past couple of months, my symptoms have gotten gradually worse.
Do you think you have a hormone problem? Do your hormones affect your mental health? Comment below.