At some point, every person faces hormonal imbalances. These first occur during the teen years when the body occasionally gets flooded with sex hormones as it learns to regulate. Certain life experiences, such as taking birth control pills or becoming pregnant, can affect hormone balance, as well. The last time many of us deal with this battle usually happens in mid-life, when hormones begin to decline sharply. Because hormones are involved in nearly every physical process, it is vital that we recognize their value.
Without sufficient hormonal balance, one can encounter numerous undesirable symptoms. These include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Unexplained weight gain
- Loss of motivation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of libido
A common scenario in doctor’s offices across the country goes like this:
Patient: “I feel anxious and tired almost all of the time and I don’t know why.”
Doctor: “It could be slight depression . . . take this.”
One government study indicates that more prescriptions are written for depression than for headaches, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Most prescriptions are written for women in their forties and fifties. The study also suggests that twice as many women are taking antidepressants than men. This may relate to the fact that men are less likely to talk about their feelings than their female counterparts.
Could Hormone Replacement Therapy Help Depression?
Essentially, hormones are the body’s way of speaking with itself. Hormones travel through the circulatory system in search of the proper receptor. If hormones are running amuck, so to speak, the body isn’t sending or receiving the right messages for optimal health. This could result in a number of problems, including depression and anxiety, which often go hand-in-hand. To help manage depression, a patient may consider thorough hormone testing. Individual hormones relate to mood in specific ways:
- Estrogen regulates the production of serotonin, the brain chemical that, when low, is associated with anxiety and depression. Optimal serotonin levels promote mood balance.
- Progesterone helps to regulate the GABA receptors in the brain, facilitating calm and healthy sleep patterns. The calming effects of progesterone can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Testosterone is a confidence-boosting hormone that is directly related to a positive mood.
- Cortisol is the “stress hormone” that is produced during moments of fight-or-flight. Too much cortisol for too long leads to adrenal fatigue and low cortisol even in times of stress. Adrenal fatigue is associated with multiple mood-related symptoms.
Skin Center has offices throughout Pennsylvania and in Columbus, OH. Call 800-429-1151 to learn more about bioidentical hormone therapy and how hormone balancing can help improve your mood.