Have you ever felt worried or nervous for no apparent reason?
You know that feeling when you’re scared for no real reason?
That feeling of inexplicable fear is known as anxiety, a common emotional state experienced by many across the globe.
While factors like our surroundings, genetic makeup, or difficult experiences can trigger this unease, there’s another culprit quietly at work inside us – a hormonal imbalance.
This article will explore how hormonal imbalances can contribute to developing or exacerbating anxiety symptoms and what to do about it.
The Connection Between Hormones and Anxiety
The connection between hormones and anxiety is complex and multifaceted.
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by various bodily glands, and they play a crucial role in regulating numerous physiological processes, including mood and emotions.
An imbalance or shift in these hormone levels can meddle with our brain and nervous system functioning, laying the foundation for anxiety symptoms or escalating them.
Here we’ll explore some important ways in which hormonal imbalance can impact anxiety:
When Stress Hormones Go Off Balance:
Cortisol is our body’s “stress hormone,” and it’s super important when we feel stressed. But too much stress can mess up this balance and make us more anxious. Being stressed for a long time can cause our cortisol levels to rise, making us feel nervous and uneasy.
Problems with the Thyroid:
Thyroid hormones, like T3 and T4, help control our body’s energy and affect many things, including our mood and thinking. If our thyroid doesn’t work right (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism), it can mess up these hormones, making us feel anxious. Hypothyroidism, with low thyroid hormone levels, can cause tiredness, sadness, and anxiety. On the flip side, hyperthyroidism, with high levels, can make us feel grumpy, nervous, and even more anxious.
Changes in Female Hormones:
Changes in female hormones, estrogen, and progesterone can affect mood and anxiety levels in women. Conditions like PMS and PMDD are related to hormonal changes before periods. Some women may feel more anxious, grumpy, and have mood swings during this time. Changes in these hormones during perimenopause and menopause can also cause anxiety symptoms.
Troubles with Mood Controllers:
GABA and serotonin are special brain messengers that help control our mood and anxiety. GABA helps calm us down, and serotonin, often called the “happy hormone,” helps us feel good. If we don’t have enough of these, we can feel more anxious. Low levels of GABA or serotonin can make it harder for the brain to control feelings of worry and unease.
When the Adrenal Glands Get Tired:
Adrenal fatigue is when our adrenal glands can’t make enough stress hormones like cortisol. It often happens when we’re stressed and messes up our body’s stress system. Adrenal fatigue can make us feel anxious, tired, and like we’re in a fog.
Symptoms of Hormone-Related Anxiety
Hormone-related anxiety can manifest differently depending on the hormonal imbalance and individual factors.
Here are some common symptoms that may be associated with hormone-related anxiety:
Intense Worry and Apprehension: Hormonal imbalances can contribute to excessive and persistent worry, even when it may not be warranted. Individuals may experience racing thoughts, a sense of impending doom, and difficulty controlling anxious thoughts.
Restlessness and Irritability: Hormonal fluctuations can lead to feelings of restlessness, irritability, and an overall decreased tolerance for stress. Minor stressors may trigger strong emotional responses or heightened agitation.
Mood Swings: Hormone-related anxiety can result in rapid and unpredictable shifts in mood. Individuals may experience intense emotional highs and lows, feeling elated momentarily and then profoundly anxious or depressed shortly after.
Physical Symptoms: Hormonal imbalances can manifest in physical symptoms that overlap with anxiety, including:
- Heart palpitations or increased heart rate
- Sweating or hot flashes
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Gastrointestinal disturbances, such as nausea or stomachaches
- Fatigue or low energy levels
- Muscle tension or aches
- Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns
Changes in Appetite: Hormonal fluctuations can influence appetite and eating habits. Some individuals may experience increased food cravings or changes in appetite, leading to overeating or loss of appetite.
Sleep Issues: Hormonal imbalances can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep. Insufficient or poor-quality sleep can further contribute to anxiety symptoms.
Cognitive Changes: Hormone-related anxiety can affect cognitive functioning, leading to difficulties with concentration, memory, and decision-making. It may become challenging to focus on tasks or retain information.
Changes in Libido: Hormonal imbalances can impact sexual desire and arousal. Some individuals may experience decreased libido or changes in their sexual functioning, contributing to anxiety or distress.
Easy Natural Ways to Keep Your Hormones Balanced
Keeping our hormones balanced is super important for staying healthy.
Even though things like our genes or medical problems can change our hormone levels, there are simple, natural ways to keep our hormones balanced and feel less anxious.
Here are some tips:
Eat Healthy Foods: Eating the right foods can help keep our hormones balanced. Try to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and good fats. Some foods, like broccoli, cauliflower, fish like salmon, and seeds like flaxseeds and chia seeds, are especially good for our hormones.
Don’t Let Stress Win: Too much stress can affect our hormones. Calming things like deep breathing, yoga, or regular exercise can help. Find hobbies or spend time in nature to help you relax.
Exercise Regularly: Exercise is excellent for balancing our hormones. Try to do different types of exercise, like running or swimming, strength training, and stretching. Find a fun activity and make it a part of your daily routine.
Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is vital for keeping our hormones in check. Try to get 7-9 hours of sound sleep every night. Make a regular sleep schedule, create a calm environment, and develop good sleep habits.
Consider BHRT: Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is a special treatment that uses hormones like our bodies naturally make. It’s used to help get hormone levels back to normal when they’re off balance.
It’s important to note that BHRT is a specialized treatment that should be prescribed and monitored by qualified healthcare professionals. Hormone therapy should be personalized to each individual, considering their unique hormonal profile and health needs.
If you are considering BHRT, contact us at Renew Health and Wellness for more information.