Learn about how anxiety and hormonal imbalances are linked and what to do about it.
The onset of anxiety can be triggered in a number of ways and at any moment for many adults. Common triggers can include caffeine, trauma, loss, not getting enough sleep, stress, and finances to name a few. However, there is a factor that is often overlooked and that is the connection between high anxiety and hormonal imbalances.
Women are biologically more commonly affected by hormonal imbalances than males. This is because, through different life stages as a woman, her hormones fluctuate drastically like during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, perimenopause, and postmenopause.
One of the best ways to address hormone-related anxiety is to understand which hormones affect your mood and response to stress. Each hormone places a vital role in the natural processes of the body and its function. Here are the top hormones that are linked to high anxiety levels:
Fluctuation of the sex hormones, estrogen, and testosterone, play a major role in how much anxiety you experience. This explains why during times of hormonal changes like menstruation, anxiety tends to arise. Estrogen levels are normally higher during the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, which result in higher levels of serotonin, the happy hormone. However, estrogen levels drop during the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle and this increases the risk of having anxiety. Almost 80% of women who have their menstrual cycle report feeling at least one physical, mood, or anxiety symptom during their period.
The stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline, are released into the bloodstream when a person feels threatened or sense danger. This triggers a fight or flight response to help us cope with the threat at hand. However, most times when these stress hormones are triggered we are not in immediate danger, it is more of a having a stressful moment at work type of situation. Nonetheless, the stress hormones are still released. Now, there is too much cortisol and adrenaline in the body which leaves one feeling anxious.
If there is a thyroid imbalance present in the body, it can affect one both physically and mentally. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, include anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and nervousness. Whereas, hypothyroidism, the underactive thyroid, results in feeling fatigued and depressed. Also, studies have shown that autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid could play a major role in anxiety disorders.
Oxytocin is known as the love hormone and is released from the brain when hugging, cuddling, having sex, and even when a mother breastfeeds. This hormone actually has a positive impact on anxiety and balances out anxiety, aggression, and stress when one is faced with oxytocin stimuli. During periods of high oxytocin activity in the body, like sexual activity, or lactation, anxiety, and emotional responsiveness may be lower.
Overall, hormone-related anxiety can be due to a number of reasons. However, if you think that your anxiety is linked to your hormones, you may be possibly experiencing other symptoms. This includes irregular menstrual cycles, acne, hair loss, excess body hair, reduced sex drive, fatigue, increased thirst, frequent urination, weight gain/loss, and much more!
Here are the top 5 ways someone can support hormonal balance and reduce anxiety:
Exercise regularly. Doing so can actually help lower the stress hormones and release endorphins in the body, in turn reducing anxiety and improving one's mood.
Stress management. High levels of stress, cause more stress hormones, and the cycle keeps going and going. Try techniques like meditation and yoga to manage stress and anxiety.
Nutrition. A diet high in fiber-rich foods, fermented foods, and omega-3s has been linked to low levels of anxiety, in addition to improved mental health.
Sleep. Not getting enough quality sleep has been linked to many hormonal imbalances. It is recommended to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night for optimal health and low anxiety levels.
Personalized treatments. Here at The Lifestyle Clinic, we have helped so many people address their hormonal imbalances and in turn, eliminated their anxiety altogether. Through our natural, holistic approach we help you address the source of your wellness concerns and create a customized plan for your wants and needs. Click here for more information!