Hormonal Imbalance Might Be Causing Depression
High or Low Estrogen Can Cause Depression
Low estrogen can occur near or during menopause or with those women who have amenorrhea ( no menses ) or skip cycles. Estrogen is needed to get your brain to convert Tryptophan into 5-HTP. 5-HTP then goes to make Serotonin. Serotonin is largely considered your “anti-depressant ” hormone. Therefore, if your Estrogen is low, it’s possible less 5-HTP is made, effectively causing lower Serotonin. This is one of the reasons why mood disorders are common in menopause – when Estrogen goes away, so can Serotonin.
As mentioned, Tryptophan is the start of Serotonin production. But, excessively HIGH estrogen can cause it to turn tail and and go down a different pathway becoming Kynurenine instead of 5-HTP. Again, less 5-HTP production lower the levels of Serotonin.
You can’t win with a high or low estrogen! It’s a balance.
If you are a young woman who doesn’t ovulate ( like in cases of PCOS or if you are on OCP for birth control ) you don’t make much Progesterone. Menopausal women don’t ovulate, so they don’t make much progesterone as well.
Metabolites of Progesterone crosses the brain and touch on GABA receptors. GABA is your major anti-anxiety and calming neurotransmitter. Thus, low Progesterone can trigger anxiety reactions.
Does that mean all menopausal women or women with PCO or irregular menses have depression? Of course not! But how many women notice depression if their cycles become irregular or skip or as they become menopausal? A lot do.
Are you depressed? have your hormones checked.
Hormone replacement therapy can effectively manage existing depression in patients with hormonal imbalance as it aims to restore hormones to balanced physiological levels.
Happiness can indeed be just a matter of balance.
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