The Connection between Mental Health and Hormones

Mental health issues are now getting the attention they deserve. Unfortunately, women are often more affected than men. In fact, according to some studies, women are approximately 1.5 to 3 times more likely to experience serious depressive disorders than men.

Additionally, women are twice as likely to suffer anxiety disorders.

Some of the most common issues women experience including stress, mood swings, low motivation, memory loss and brain fog. While these issues can obviously be caused by circumstances, such as ill health, financial issues, lack of purpose, trauma, relationships and others, there are also proven links between hormone imbalances and mental health issues.

The Hormone Connection

It has been proven there’s a strong connection and relationship between your brain and your hormones. The signals coming from the brain dictate the hormones produced. Additionally, hormones in your body influence your mental health, as well as brain activity.

Some of the hormones that are thought to directly correlate to and affect your mental health are listed here:

  • Cortisol: Stress in today’s world is often unrelenting, and when you are stressed, your “fight or flight” response is switched on. This produces either low or high levels of cortisol, which can impact the neurotransmitters in your brain. Serotonin (the happy hormone) is impacted, as well as GABA (calming) and dopamine (the feel-good hormone).
  • Vitamin D: This is actually a hormone with many receptors in your brain. If sunshine is low, then deficiency in this vitamin is common. Vitamin D has been directly linked to depression and mood disorders.
  • Estrogen: These levels in women can fluctuate significantly during your monthly cycle and during peri-menopause. If you have too much estrogen, then you may become anxious and irritable. If you have too little, then you may be over-emotional, foggy and depressed.
  • Insulin: Do you have a diet that is high in sugar and refined carbs? If so, then you may be creating too much insulin, which results in brain inflammation, which can alter your mood.
  • Progesterone: It has a calming effect on your brain and works to stimulate the GABA receptors, which make you feel-good. After the age 35, this declines significantly.
  • Testosterone: This isn’t just a male hormone – in fact, women require it, too. It may begin to deplete rapidly as you age, resulting in increased anxiety, low motivation and mood.
  • Thyroid: If you have low levels of the thyroid hormone, then your brain function may slow down. This is what causes memory loss, brain fog, anxiety and depression.

Your Brain and Gut Connection

According to experts, your gut is actually your second brain. In fact, your bran and gut are in constant communication. If you suffer from gut imbalances such as food sensitivities, indigestion, pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation or IBS, then it can affect how your brain works and your overall mental health.

What Can You Do?

One of the best things you can do to help re-balance your hormones and improve mental/brain health is to seek professional help. Have some tests done and take steps to correct things that may not be right in your life (i.e. your diet, little time outside, stress, etc.).

For more information about hormone imbalances and how they can affect your mental health, contact Premier Health and Wellness by visiting the site or contacting the staff at (512) 596-3968.