How Hormones Affect Our Emotions
When our body’s hormone balance is off, it can wreak havoc on our moods and emotions.
Estrogen, the “female hormone,” can have a strong effect on women’s emotions. One’s estrogen level can vary widely during a monthly menstrual cycle, potentially causing a great number of symptoms. In addition to other physical symptoms, too much estrogen can cause fatigue, lack of energy, memory problems, irritability, depression, a decreased sex drive, insomnia and more.
Too little estrogen can cause fatigue and mood problems including trouble concentrating, headaches, depression and other symptoms. Some studies have also shown an association between lower estrogen levels and panic attacks.
If it’s needed, your doctor can prescribe estrogen, or a combination of estrogen and the hormone progesterone, to balance hormones and alleviate symptoms; for instance, at perimenopause. Treatment can include birth control pills or Hormone Replacement Therapy, which provides a lower dose of hormones than birth control pills do.
Lifestyle changes can also help to ease the symptoms that result from our hormone balance being off. Exercising enhances the hormones serotonin and endorphins, both of which help you feel good and are important in preventing depression. Exposure to sunlight is also thought to help your body produce serotonin, which makes you feel better (consider, too, how an absence of sunshine can lead to seasonal mood disorders). Eating a proper balance of proteins and carbohydrates can keep blood sugar and weight in balance, which can also help us handle our emotions.
Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause depression and a lack of energy. The good news is that doctors can test for thyroid levels and prescribe medication to restore your levels if needed.
In men, decreased testosterone levels can cause low energy, depression, lack of sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Replacing missing testosterone can alleviate these symptoms.
There is hope for hormonal imbalances that affect our emotions and moods. If you’re having problems with moods and emotions, see your doctor. Ask if there might be a problem with your hormone balance and learn how you can ease the symptoms.