Common symptoms that we associate with hormone imbalance are those related to periods or night sweats and hot flushes. However, what is not commonly appreciated is the fact that both hormone imbalance and anxiety/depression are interlinked. Either one can lead to the other. Hormonal imbalance can first raise its head when we are in our thirties. It manifests itself as PMT and period irregularities. The next couple of decades are the time where we see a lot of women having their contraception changed for the above reasons as well as being prescribed anti-depressants. It takes care of the symptoms, but not the cause.
Cholesterol is the molecule from which we can either derive female hormones or stress hormones. When the body is under mental or physical stress it will produce more of our flight or fright hormone cortisol. This stress hormone, in turn, can cause palpitations, sleep disturbance, lack of energy and weight gain over a period of time. This also then impacts on our thyroid and female hormones. The latter has a calming and energising regulatory function. If this is impaired it makes women susceptible to a wide range of symptoms, including anxiety and depression. It is a well-understood phenomenon, but does not get the attention it deserves.
Lifestyle and dietary measures can go a long way in restoring this balance and where necessary hormone regulation may have an important role to play.
Some of the measures that can help reduce the stress cascade include:
Avoiding excessive cardio exercise
Reducing all sugars and cutting back on carbohydrates
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
Spending more time outdoors and away from computer screens
Expressing and sharing emotions
Avoiding toxic company
Mindfulness, meditation and Yin Yoga.
Restoring our natural hormone balance is key to wellness. Lifestyle measures with or without hormone balance therapy can treat the cause of anxiety and depression.