I don't know if it's due to the influence of social media, or just a general change in awareness, but it seems that certain disorders are starting to have a lot more light shinning on them these days. Mostly I'm talking about mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc. However, even with all this new attention, we're still not seeing much about how other conditions in the body can affect our moods, and trust me, they can. The most well known example is PMS, but why does PMS have such an effect on our moods? One simple word, Hormones.
Hormones can have a HUGE impact on our mental and emotional health. In the most basic sense, hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout our bodies, influencing every system and coordinating complex processes (such as birth, metabolism, fertility, and growth). Without hormones, our bodies would not change during puberty, process food, or respond efficiently during times of crisis. Hormones, and our entire endocrine system, play a major part in health for both men and women during all stages of life. Unfortunately, this important system is often overlooked by medical practitioners who are focused on a specific problem. Quite too often, the hormones are neglected and looked at only as a last resort.
Some of the most well known hormones are estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline, and serotonin. While all of these have an impact on our moods, there are some, less well known, hormones that can have an even bigger impact. For women, one of these is progesterone. Progesterone is a major fertility hormone, but it's also a major restorative and anti-anxiety hormone. Low progesterone levels can be linked to severe PMS-related problems, such as mood swings, irritability, and depression. Men have similar issues when their testosterone is low. Low testosterone can cause severe mood swings and depression in men, along with all the other problems we are more familiar with.
Now I know that I harp on stress quite often, but it does have that much of an impact. Both low testosterone in men, and low progesterone in women, can be linked to excessive stress. One major reason for this is simply a lack of supplies. Cortisol is a major stress hormone that our body releases when it perceives stress. Even something as routine as a deadline, financial concerns, or traffic can cause the body to create and release cortisol. However, the raw materials our bodies use to do this are the same raw materials that our bodies use to make other hormones such as testosterone and progesterone. If we are constantly in stressful situations, our body won't have enough of the raw materials left over to make those, all important, hormones because it will be too busy making cortisol.
If you are struggling with mood disorders and you think your hormones may be, at least in part, to blame. Talk to your doctor about having your endocrine levels checked and to see what you may be able to do to help balance them out. You can also try to keep your stress levels lower, eat a balanced diet, exercise, go out in nature, and supplement with vitamins and herbs to help balance out your hormones.
5 Signs Hormones are Sabotaging Your Body: Oprah: http://www.oprah.com/health_wellness/how-hormones-affect-mood-weight-sex-drive-and-more
Chemical Messengers- How Hormones Affect Our Mood: The Conversation: http://theconversation.com/chemical-messengers-how-hormones-affect-our-mood-42422
The Connection Between Hormones and Mood: BePure: https://www.bepure.co.nz/blogs/news/connection-between-hormones-mood
Hormones and Mood- From Menarche to Menopause and Beyond: Pub Med: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12646300
Menopause Mood Swings: Hormon Health: https://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/menopause/menopause-mood-swings
Ovulation Hormones- Here's How The Menstrual Cycle Phases Affect Your Mood: https://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/womens-health/a1605/a-month-in-the-life-of-your-hormones-107587/
Why Do Hormones Affect Your Mood: Thrive Global: https://medium.com/thrive-global/why-do-your-hormones-affect-your-mood-ca076d3478a