Would you believe it if I told you that your frequent anxiety attacks are caused by your birth control pill? Perhaps not, but that’s an absolute possibility. Anxiety is a tricky subject despite there being so much discourse over it in the last decade or so. This is why despite the exposure it receives so many people might still not be aware of the link it shares with hormones. Hormones are practically responsible for running our body’s various mechanisms. The catch here is that there needs to be meditation when it comes to hormones because less or more than normal production of hormones can cause biological complications. Here’s more on hormones and their link with anxiety;
Anxiety & Hormonal Imbalance: What’s The Correlation?
What came before; the chicken or the egg? This argument rarely leads up to a perfect answer and that is the case for hormone-related anxiety as well. It is extremely hard to identify whether hormonal imbalance triggered your anxiety or if anxiety is the reason why your hormones are excessively fluctuating. Rest assured, there’s enough research data to back up the claim that both of these situations can lead up to each other. So, yes, anxiety can be caused by hormones or hormonal fluctuation. In order to understand more about how this matter plays out and how it can be managed, you need to have more information on hormones and hormonal imbalance.
What Is Hormonal Imbalance & What Causes It?
Our bodies produce a variety of hormones that are responsible for running a large majority of functions. For instance; testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen are considered sex hormones and are generally linked to an individual’s reproductive cycle. Hormonal imbalance is an anomaly or a kind of chemical imbalance that indicates that your body might be producing one or more hormones in a noticeably lesser or greater amount.
Due to hormonal imbalance, individuals tend to experience at least one or more symptoms that are considered a general red flag for anxiety-related disorders. For instance; during an anxiety attack it’s common for people to be on high alert. Their fight or flight response peaks as they start losing focus over what’s actually happening. The imbalance or increased production of a stress hormone like cortisol can similarly awaken your fight or flight response and amp up your anxiety.
Both men and women struggle with hormonal imbalances. Yet, women tend to struggle with it more often than others. The reason behind this is that in women hormone production gets affected by various reproductive phases; around puberty, pre/post menopause, during pregnancy, etc. These are all life phases that can trigger an overproduction or less than normal production of hormones in a woman’s body which can cause stress and anxiety. No wonder some women tend to be a little too moody around the aforementioned phases because there’s a noticeable hormonal imbalance in their bodies. Whether or not you have a hormonal imbalance or hormone-related anxiety can also be found after conducting a test but here are a few symptoms you can identify on your own;
- Frequent panic attacks
- Frequent mood changes/irritability
- Change in your menstrual cycle
- Inability to conceive
- Miscarriage at the initial stage of pregnancy
- Lack of concentration
Now that we’ve established that hormonal imbalance can cause anxiety it’s time to figure out 3 important things;
- Which factors cause hormonal imbalance?
- How can you manage hormonal imbalance?
- Why do people undergo HRT despite the risks it poses?
What Causes Hormonal Imbalance And What Can I do To Undo Its Impact On Anxiety Levels?
- It might be time to take a break from contraceptive pills/birth control pills. It’s a commonly known fact that these pills can trigger hormonal imbalance in a large majority of women apart from other health risks they can cause. Consult your doctor and conduct a simple blood test to check for signs of hormonal imbalance. Whether or not your birth control pill or IUD is the reason behind hormonal imbalance will be revealed by this quick break. In the meantime try other contraceptive methods instead.
- The vegetables and poultry we consume nowadays are filled to the brim with artificial hormones. Thus making them a part of our diet can oy do more damage. This is an essential reason why people are moving onto organic dietary items. Eating clean can save you from so many hazards including hormonal imbalance. If you have the budget to invest in a much more organic dietary approach, take your chances! Additionally, fermented food and dietary items with omega-3s can also be of great help in reducing those stress hormones. Consequently, you’ll feel less anxious because you’re maintaining what you’re putting inside your body.
- If you’re feeling stressed and anxious due to working overtime or skipping a seamless sleep cycle you’ll obviously be filled to the brim with stress hormones. Take a break, and revitalize your mind by focusing your attention on something else for a while. Divide the work you are doing into chunks instead of managing things in a small period. Your mind and body can go into distress which will actually lead them into producing extra cortisol and that’s exactly what you want to avoid.
- If there’s an overload of stress hormones in your body you can counterattack it with an overload of happy hormones. For instance; happy hormones like endorphin can actually neutralize your emotions and put you in a better mood. But, there’s a catch in order to get a regular dose of these happy hormones and reduce cortisol levels you’ll actually have to do specific things. Exercising or giving your body the movement it needs is the right way to start. This is a scientifically backed-up claim that working out regularly or merely jogging can reduce cortisol levels. When it comes to amping up endorphin production; just live a little. Let your imagination overflow, work on your aspirations, and don’t back up from doing the things that you actually love.
Why Do People Undergo Hormone Therapy Despite All The Risks It Can Poke?
Menopause / Premature Menopause
A large majority of women tend to undergo hormone therapy to ease the symptoms of menopause. As individuals assigned females at birth, enter puberty estrogen production starts increasing in their body. As you reach menopause, the estrogen production rate gradually starts falling. Estrogen is produced by our ovaries and tends to play a huge role when it comes to reproductive health among females and other relevant matters. As menopause starts taking its action, a woman might start experiencing the following at a much more noticeable rate;
- Hot flashes/excessive sweating
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Atrophic vaginitis
Estrogen therapy in this context can relieve the symptoms mentioned above and provide gradual relief to the aforementioned group of women. Apart from the women that have reached menopause at its imminent time, estrogen therapy can also provide great comfort to women struggling with premature menopause. Premature menopause usually occurs when a woman has to undergo a surgical procedure to remove an ovary, which directly disrupts estrogen production.
Using a condom or keeping track of your reproductive cycle simply isn’t enough system. Thus as suggested by their physicians some people count on sex hormones as a way of keeping pregnancy at bay. This is not at all as convenient as using a condom but it’s a practice utilized by many.
Transsexuals undergo gender-affirming hormonal therapy if their physical traits do not comply with their gender identity. Someone who’s been assigned with masculine features at birth but identifies as a woman might undergo hormonal therapy to seek a much more feminized appearance and vice versa. The beginning of such procedure usually begins before puberty starts prevailing which ideally delays the start of puberty and secondary sex characteristics among said teenager.
Estrogen uptake can then relieve their psychological discomfort with their naturally assigned features and help get rid of body dysmorphia at the same time. Consequently, giving them a chance to live their life a bit more authentically as the gender they identify with.
With the rise of mass media and extreme focus on appearing aesthetically pleasing, more and more cosmetic procedures are on the rise. Everyone wishes to appear younger than they usually are. Thus, a large majority of older women count on HRT for a younger-looking more supple skin. In this context hormone therapy can delay skin aging and help you avoid wrinkles for a short while.
10 Alternative Possibilities Behind Anxiety
- Drinking excessive coffee isn’t as harmless as you think it is. Caffeine overload is a real thing that can cause extreme jitteriness and make you feel on the edge until the effects of that espresso shot wear off.
- Certain medications can also amp up your anxiety levels. This is why it is important to make your doctor aware of any health risks you might have.
- Coming across a sudden disastrous event can trigger a similar reaction in you. For instance; a road accident, natural disaster, death of a loved one, witnessing abuse, etc. During the time following that incident you might feel constantly on edge in public spaces, or next to strangers.
- Excessive usage of illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or even marijuana can cause anxiety. Everyone’s differently wired so if marijuana makes you feel more relaxed it doesn’t mean that it’ll surely bring out the same reaction in your friend. The paranoia caused by drug consumption can make you feel unsafe even in a familiar environment and make you super anxious.
- This is perhaps the most cliché answer to this question but it’s absolutely true. If you’ll test your limits the consequences will surely bite back. Having a truckload of academic responsibilities, professional responsibilities or even domestic responsible can be a recipe for disaster. You’re overworking yourself, not taking a break and the stress associated with the fear of failure is also eating you alive. This scenario can only lead to a case of extreme anxiety that can render you weak for quite some time.
- The lack of oxygen in your body or brain can also make you feel extremely anxious. This is the reason why some people feel extra distressed at high altitudes or in a closed space with no windows.
- There are so many conditions that don’t have enough exposure which is why the general public rarely realizes that they might be struggling with it without even realizing it. If you struggle with anxiety more often than usual, then you might have an undiagnosed condition; phobia, psychological anomaly, physical anomaly, etc. For instance, an individual with undiagnosed panic disorder or a type of GAD is way more likely to experience anxiety frequently. They might not know it yet, but their problem is stemming from a single reason that’ll remain unstoppable until they get a professional diagnosis.
- Little do you know that the weight loss supplements you are consuming are amping up your anxiety levels every day. Some of these supplements contain ingredients such as; green tea extracts which directly affect your sleep cycle and can make you feel super jittery in the morning.
- If someone else in your family tree had an anxiety disorder then you are more than likely to have one because genetics play a huge role in terms of anxiety.
- Having low self-esteem can make you feel anxious at any given moment. If your low self-esteem stems from the lack of social security or monetary benefits you can feel very anxious in the presence of someone who’s financially secured.
No matter how ordinary hormonal imbalance seems to you it can be a touchy subject for those that are facing complications caused by it. It is highly cruel to disregard the struggles of those that struggle with anxiety regularly or might be struggling with a stable reproductive cycle as a result of hormonal imbalance. Lastly, make sure you’re counting on an expert’s advice instead of only relying on people’s tips while treating hormonal imbalance.