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Hormones and Mental Health: What is the Link?

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Did you know that hormones and mental wellness are co-related?


Let's take a dive to know more!

 

What are Hormones?

Hormones are chemical messengers that control/regulate activity of cells and organs. They are produced in the glands of the endocrine system. They are vital not only for physical health but also, mental health and controls metabolism, mood, sexual and reproductive health.


Hormones and the brain have a two-way relationship - the brain signals to the body to produce and release hormones and hormones from within the body send messages back to the brain.


The body produces hundreds of hormones but, the following 4 directly impact the brain and mental health:

  • Thyroid ( energy regulation)

  • Cortisol and DHEA (stress management)(decreasing brain inflammation)

  • Insulin (blood sugar)

  • Sex hormones : Estrogen – mood modulator, Progesterone – anti anxiety, Testosterone – mood, motivation, strength/energy, sexuality


When there is healthy hormone production and they are in balance you feel vibrant and energetic. When these hormones are out of sync, you feel unbalanced too with common symptoms being :

  • Changes in cognitive functioning

  • Changes in emotions

  • Sleep disruption

  • More vulnerable to anxiety, depression and other psychological conditions

 

What is Estrogen?

The sex hormone; Estrogen is an important mood regulator. Healthy and balanced estrogen levels optimize neurotransmitter production and brain function throughout the month.

Extracted from: https://www.myhormonology.com/learn/female-hormone-cycle/


Estrogen dominance results in more drastic spikes and drops and can disrupt brain processes leading to anxiety and irritability. Low Estrogen often results in depressed mood, impaired cognitive functioning such as memory and attention. These symptoms can be worse during peri-menopause and menopause due to erratic fluctuation of estrogen.



Extracted from: http://www.drcynthiand.ca/menstrual_cycles/


Typical Estrogen dominance symptoms :

  • Mood swings, Depression

  • Fatigue, Low libido

  • Headaches, migraines

  • Brain fog, memory

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Weight gain, thyroid dysfunction, fibrous breasts, bloating, yeast, heavy bleeding, carb cravings

Typical Low Estrogen can result in:

  • Mood fluctuation, Depression, Weepiness

  • Fatigue

  • Heart palpitations

  • Brain fog, memory, attention

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Weight gain, hot flashes, incontinence & infections, osteoporosis

 

What is Progestogen?

Progesterone is another important sex hormone that supports mental health as it is the “Anti-Anxiety” hormone. It supports the production of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which helps your brain to relax, supports myelin that insulates and protects neurons and protects nerves. Progesterone that is balanced with estrogen leads to feelings of calm, peace and results in good sleep.


Out of balance Progesterone to Estrogen or Progesterone that declines too dramatically leads to anxiety, low mood, irritability, brain fog and poor sleep. If both Progesterone and Estrogen plummet before menstruation, a women’s mood stability goes out of the window.


Typical signs of Low Progesterone symptoms include :

  • Anxiety, Depression

  • Pre menstrual headaches

  • Post natal depression

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Fibrocystic breasts

  • PMS

  • Bone loss

 

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is our “Mood, Motivation and More” hormone. Although it is significant for the development of the male brain but, women need it too. In both males and females, testosterone protects the nervous system, wards off Depression, Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Low Testosterone also leads to an increase symptoms of anxiety and depression.


Typical signs of Low Testosterone include :

  • Anxiety, Depression, Moodiness

  • Concentration difficulties

  • Lack of motivation

  • Low libido

  • Fatigue

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Increased body fat, reduced lean muscle

  • Low bone density

  • Hair loss

  • Hot flashes

 

Besides the typical life stages of Peri-Menopause and Menopause, there are MANY possible triggers of hormonal imbalances in men and women.

The most common are lifestyle related and include:

  • Diet – Inflammatory Food, High Sugar, Red Meat, Processed Foods, Caffeine, Soy and Dairy

  • Life stressors – Emotional and Physical

  • Lifestyle – Poor Sleep, Difficult Relationships etc

  • Environment – Toxins, Mold, Heavy Metals, Endocrine Disruptors

  • Age – Adolescents, Pregnancy and Peri-menopause/Menopause

By paying attention to the lifestyle factors mentioned above, you can ensure healthy hormonal balance and look after your mental well-being!


Keep your health in-check by attending regular check-ups and workshops for up-to-date information/knowledge. Stay tuned for more events by Surety.


If you are feeling low or wish to seek 1-on-1 complimentary advice/counselling, do check out our collaboration with Singapore Silver Ribbon!



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