Hormonal Changes and Depression

Did you know that women are twice as likely as men to experience depression? One reason this may occur is that women go through different hormone cycles through their lifetime. When hormones are imbalanced, it could lead to depression. Psychology Today states that “one of the most influential factors is the way in which women are affected by the hormonal changes they go through during and after their reproductive years.” Hormones can be a factor, but there are usually other circumstances as well that play their own role in depression. However, there are certain times in a woman’s life where hormone imbalance could be the cause of depression.

Puberty-

Being a teenager is difficult. This is because of identity issues, conflict with parents or other authority figures, and the pressures to succeed in school and other activities. In addition, there are some hormonal changes happening in the body. Temporary mood swings are normal during this time. Although this may be true, The Mayo Clinic reports “hormone changes during puberty may increase some girls’ risk of developing depression.”

Monthly Cycles-

Another time hormones can be a factor is during the monthly menstruation cycle. Again, some hormonal changes are to be expected. Mood swings and other symptoms are called PMS. Yet, there is a chance PMS can become something more. PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, is a more severe form of PMS. In this conditions, symptoms are so severe that it interrupts daily life. At this time, depression can occur and, if so, treatment may be needed.

Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression-

During pregnancy, women experience many changes in their bodies, including large hormonal changes. These changes can affect mood and, if coupled other personal issues, can lead to depression. Some personal issues include experiencing high stress, a history of depression, experiencing an unwanted pregnancy or suffering from a miscarriage.
After the baby is born, more hormonal changes occur. This can lead to postpartum depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression can differ. They include low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy, problems sleeping, crying more than usual, and thoughts of harming your child and/or yourself.
Postpartum depression has been related to a hormonal change. Johns Hopkins found that “lower levels of the hormone allopregnanolone in the second trimester of pregnancy were associated with an increased chance of developing postpartum depression in women already known to be at risk for the disorder.” Hormones contribute to postpartum depression.

Perimenopause and Menopause-

The last hormonal change women have is during perimenopause and menopause. These changes usually occur in the mid-40’s, but it can happen earlier. Estrogen levels rise and fall during this time. These fluctuations can cause anxiety and/or depression. This can happen even if you’ve never experienced depression before.  The Cleveland Clinic states “perimenopausal women who have never had mental health issues may experience symptoms of anxiety and depression during those months or even years before actual menopause.” They also state that it is more likely to occur if you are prone to depression.
As estrogen levels continue to decline into menopause, hormonal changes continue to occur. If you find that hormone imbalance is leading to depression, you should consider treatment. At Complete Care Health Centers, we offer Hormone Replacement Therapy that may be the answer. Talk to one of our providers to see if this treatment is right for you.