Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and overall well-being. It affects how we feel, think, and react. It also determines how we handle stress, relationships with others, and make good decisions. Mental health is important at every stage of life. So how does that relate to our hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers produced in the body that control and regulate the activity of certain cells or organs. The human body produces hundreds of hormones. However, the following four hormones have a very direct influence on brain function/mental health:
(1) Estrogen (mood modulator) (2) Thyroid (energy regulation) (3) Progesterone (nature’s anti-anxiety hormone) (4) DHEA and Cortisol (managing stress), and Insulin (manages blood sugar).
When your hormones are healthy, you tend to feel vibrant and energetic. However, when your hormones that affect your brain neurohormones are imbalanced, you may experience symptoms that change the way you feel, think and act in negative ways. It also makes you more susceptible to conditions like anxiety, depression, and even psychosis.
How does estrogen affect your mental health?
Estrogen is one of the most important hormones in a woman's body. The following hormone is also responsible for our mental health. When estrogen levels are healthy and balanced, it optimizes neurotransmitter production and brain function so you feel good and happy all month long. When estrogen levels are out of balance, this can cause hormone imbalance.
Too much estrogen in relation to progesterone can lead to a condition called estrogen dominance. This causes the gentle monthly hormonal rise and fall to evolve into a series of intense spikes and dramatic drop-offs that disrupt important brain processes and make you anxious and irritable.
Too little estrogen can lead to a person feeling depressed and confused. The loss of estrogen also hinders short-term memory, critical thinking, and other cognitive functions. These issues continue to worsen during perimenopause when estrogen levels fluctuate wildly and during menopause when the hormone production is at its lowest.
Overall, it is important that we understand our hormones so that we can better take care of them and take care of ourselves. Stay tuned as we continue to break down the relationship between Thyroid, Progesterone, DHEA, Cortisol and how they affect our mental health on a daily basis.