How Can a Hormone Imbalance Cause Anxiety?
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Hormones occur naturally throughout the body and can affect everything from physical health to psychological reactions and mood. Significant changes and recurrent fluctuations in hormones can lead to damaging effects including anxiety, and are often a culprit in exacerbating existing conditions of anxiety. Hormonal imbalances can cause anxiety in both men and women, with several factors contributing to prolonged instances of anxiety.
The first factor of hormonal imbalance that can cause anxiety in both men and women is health problems in the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is underactive, leading to a slowdown of cellular metabolism that is associated with causing mood swings and intense anxiety. The opposite condition of hyperthyroidism – an overproduction of the thyroid hormone – is also responsible for causing anxiety and includes symptoms of insomnia, weight loss and high blood pressure. If you are experiencing anxiety along with these symptoms, consult your physician about the possibility of taking a clinical exam or a TSH (Thyroid Stimulation Hormone) blood test.
Younger men and women often experience hormonal imbalances that cause anxiety when they hit puberty. Puberty is a natural cycle and often results in symptoms of mood fluctuations, aggression, fatigue and even chronic depression. A healthy hormone balance is essential in achieving a healthy state of mind and body. Although puberty is unavoidable, a healthy nutrition, getting enough sleep, taking natural supplements and sticking to a regular exercise routine can help regulate the effects of hormone imbalances and resulting anxiety and stress.
Nutrition is always a hot topic and it should come as no surprise that poor nutrition can have detrimental effects on hormone levels. Aside from potentially raising insulin levels through consumption of high-sugar and processed foods and beverages, poor nutrition can cause high levels of cortisol and oestrogen. Cortisol aids in regulating sleep patterns, mood levels, eating habits and energy. Indulging in unhealthy carbohydrates and sugars, not getting enough sleep and a lack of physical activity can cause anxiety by impairing the body’s ability to regulate cortisol.
The conditions of menopause, pregnancy and menstrual cycle are prevalent factors in hormonal imbalances experienced by women. These affect oestrogen and progesterone levels that are closely linked to mood and emotional behaviour. In both males and females, low levels or significant deficiencies of testosterone may also lead to symptoms of stress and general low moods.
Hormonal imbalances caused by stress are a major influencer in heightening anxiety. Stress is known to fatigue adrenal glands and cause an adrenal imbalance in the body. This means that the body doesn’t produce adequate levels of cortisol to naturally regulate levels of stress, blood pressure and energy. Prolonged deficiencies and chronically elevated levels of stress hormones lead to adrenal dysfunction, often resulting in conditions of depression and anxiety paired with skin problems and even arthritis.
The occurrence of hormonal imbalances will differ between individuals. If you are experiencing anxiety thought to be the result of hormonal imbalances, consult a health professional for more information on treatment options. Regular exercise, good nutrition and healthy sleeping patterns can help rectify hormonal disparities, while natural supplements such as turmeric (curcumin) and green tea are thought to help regulate hormone levels. -- Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.
Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.