Sunday, December 4, 2022

Do Pregnancy Hormones Cause Depression

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What Causes Perinatal Depression

Low progesterone symptoms: How your menstrual cycle hormones may be causing anxiety and depression

Perinatal depression is a real medical illness and can affect any motherregardless of age, race, income, culture, or education. Women are not to blame or at fault for having perinatal depression: it is not brought on by anything a mother has or has not done. Perinatal depression does not have a single cause. Research suggests that perinatal depression is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Life stress , the physical and emotional demands of childbearing and caring for a new baby, and changes in hormones that occur during and after pregnancy can contribute to the development of perinatal depression. In addition, women are at greater risk for developing perinatal depression if they have a personal or family history of depression or bipolar disorder or if they have experienced perinatal depression with a previous pregnancy.

Postpartum Psychosis Postpartum psychosis is a severe mental illness that occurs after childbirth. PP is a medical emergency, and it is important to seek help immediately by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room. Women who have PP can have delusions , hallucinations , mania , paranoia, and confusion. Women who have PP also may be at risk for harming themselves or their child and should receive help as soon as possible. Recovery is possible with professional help.

Tip : Get Up And Get Moving

When youre depressed, just getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task, let alone working out! But exercise is a powerful depression fighterand one of the most important tools for depression recovery.

Studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue. You dont even have to hit the gym. A 30-minute walk each day will give you a much-needed boost. And if you cant manage 30 minutes, three 10-minute bursts of movement throughout the day are just as effective.

Cortisol Awakening Response And Maternal Depression

In total, 6 studies investigated the CAR-perinatal depression relationship, with 3 identifying significant associations and 3 reporting non-significance. Out of these studies, only one study is considered high quality and reported a positive relationship between momentary mood and concurrent cortisol levels between 637 weeks gestation. However, it should be noted that all 3 studies indicating non-significant associations recruited healthy low-risk participants with no psychiatric disorders and measured self-reported depressive symptoms rather than major depression. In contrast, out of the research indicating significant associations, Taylor et al. and OConnor et al. focused on depressed, high-risk participants and both studies found lower cortisol levels upon waking in women with a diagnosis of depression. Based on these studies, it is suggested that major depressive disorders may be associated with a blunted cortisol response upon waking in the perinatal period. In support, OConnor et al. measured self-reported depressive symptoms and diagnosis of major depression in participants but reported a significant negative relationship only between cortisol and maternal major depression. Thus, studies focusing on the CAR suggest a negative association between major depression and cortisol and a positive association between momentary mood and concurrent cortisol levels.

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An Overview Of Hormone Imbalance And Depression

As women age, they can start to have hot flashes, develop insomnia, experience unexplained weight gain, have brain fog and memory problems, lose libido, and experience mood swings. These symptoms occur mostly due to decreased estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Going through peri- and menopause is like living with an endocrine disorder, and just like with other endocrine disorders, you are dealing with physical issues as well as possible cognitive and mental health issues.2,3

Using bioidentical hormones to restore your body to its natural balance is vital to treating hormonal depression. Bioidentical hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, are made to be exactly like what is produced in our bodies, and supplements what we already have been making most of our lives.

Experts say that there is definitely a relationship between hormones and your sense of well-being. Your hormones work together with your nervous system to maintain your sense of balance or equilibrium both physically and mentally. Equilibrium is what your body wants, but if its off, like when going through peri- and menopause, a lot can go wrong. When hormones are out of balance it affects both your body and your mind.

If your mood has changed, it may help to look at the underlying hormonal factors that may be impacting your feelings of sadness and depression. Hormonal imbalances can lead to many symptoms of depression.

Tip : Challenge Negative Thinking

perimenopause: the 0

Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself and your expectations for the future. When these types of thoughts overwhelm you, its important to remember that this is a symptom of your depression and these irrational, pessimistic attitudesknown as cognitive distortionsarent realistic.

Women also tend to ruminate when were depressed, perhaps spending hours trying to figure out why were feeling this way. However, rumination can maintain depression or even make it worse. You cant break out of this pessimistic mind frame by just telling yourself to think positive. Often, its part of a lifelong pattern of thinking thats become so automatic youre not even completely aware of it.

You can develop a more balanced way of thinking by identifying the type of negative thoughts that are contributing to your depression, and then learning to replace them with a more balanced way of thinking.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Over The Counter Hormone Replacement

Make Sure To Speak With Your Doctor About All Of Your Physical And Mental Health Symptoms

Because the mind and body are so linked, its important to work with your healthcare provider to take a holistic, systemic approach to assessing both your physical and mental health symptoms.

If you have or suspect you have an endocrine issue and are experiencing mental health symptoms, such as sudden feelings of anxiety or depression, or cognitive issues, such as trouble with focus or memory, Dr. Rice stresses the importance of working with a medical professional to test your hormone levels and adrenal responses before being prescribed antidepressants or antianxiety meds. This will help them determine the appropriate treatment. What may seem like depression might actually be successfully treated by thyroid medication before antidepressants, for example.

Its also very possible that your mental health symptoms predated or existed alongside any sort of endocrine issues. It is a wise idea to connect your healthcare provider to your therapist or counselor. If you are thinking of speaking to a psychiatrist, its smart to let them know what sort of physical health conditions, such as an endocrine disorder, you have or are being tested for.

What Feelings Can Happen

Mood swings are normal during pregnancy. But if you feel nervous or down all the time, it could be a sign of something deeper going on. Stress over being pregnant, changes in your body during the pregnancy, and everyday worries can take a toll.

Some pregnant women may have depression or anxiety:

  • Depression is sadness or feeling down or irritable for weeks or months at a time. Some women may have depression before getting pregnant. But it also can start during pregnancy for a number of reasons for example, if a woman isn’t happy about being pregnant or is dealing with a lot of stress at work or at home.
  • Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear over things that might happen. If you worry a lot anyway, many things can stress you out during pregnancy. You might worry that you won’t be a good mother or that you can’t afford to raise a baby.

Pregnant women may have other mental health issues, such as:

It’s important to treat mental health concerns during pregnancy. Mothers who are depressed, anxious, or have another issue might not get the medical care they need. They might not take care of themselves, or they may use drugs and alcohol during the pregnancy. All of these things can harm a growing baby.

If you have a mental health issue, talk with your doctor so you can get the help you need during and after your pregnancy.

Also Check: How To Check If Hormones Are Out Of Balance

Early Pregnancy Mood Swing Triggers

Hormones trigger mood swings during pregnancy, but its not only the hormones. The discomforts of pregnancy can cause emotional distress as well. For example, morning sickness, which can really hit you at any time of day, affects up to 70% of pregnant women.

Feelings of nausea and sometimes vomiting can be triggered by the slightest hunger pangs or even the smell of your neighbors cooking. For those that experience more severe morning sickness than others, anxiety may arise over whether they will suddenly feel the urge to throw-up during a business meeting. Or they may worry that they will suddenly smell something off as they walk down the street.

The stress of not knowing when they might feel sick, and the stress of possibly throwing up unprepared or in public, can be intense. Fatigue is another common early pregnancy symptom and one that can contribute to mood swings. No one feels well emotionally when they are tired, and you may feel really tired during those first months of pregnancy.

Lastly, women who have experienced miscarriage or infertility may be anxious about losing the pregnancy. This fear may be worse during the first trimester when the majority of pregnancy losses occur.

Can Depression Be Cured

1st Trimester:Pregnancy Depression and Anxiety

With treatment, most people recover from depression. Treatment can include one or more of the following:

  • Social support: Community services or parenting education.
  • Family therapy: With your partner and/or children. This can help when children are older.
  • Individual therapy: Talking one-on-one with a family doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or other professional.
  • Medication: Drugs used most often to treat depression are SSRIs .

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Is It Depression Or Just Your Hormones

Feeling blue? Cant seem to find the energy to get off the couch? Having trouble focusing on anything? You may assume its depression, and if you talk about your concerns with your healthcare provider, you could very likely walk away with a prescription for antidepressants. But what if it isnt really depression? What if your symptoms are due to something elsesomething that antidepressants wont help? For example, did you know that hormonal imbalances can lead to many symptoms of depression?

What Factors Increase My Risk Of Being Depressed During Pregnancy

There are many different factors that can add to your risk of developing depression during your pregnancy. These risks can include:

  • Having a history of depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder .
  • Your age at time of your pregnancy the younger you are, the higher the risk.
  • Living alone.
  • Feeling ambivalent about your pregnancy.

Read Also: How Do You Know When Your Hormones Are Off

What It’s Really Like To Have Prenatal Depression

Every expecting mother has heard of postpartum depression, but did you know that symptoms can start during pregnancy? Here’s how one mom dealt with this so-called prenatal depression.

When I became pregnant with my second child, my reaction confused me. I was trying to conceive, but I felt constantly plagued by worry, obsessive thoughts, regret, and other negative emotions. Then I realized I was suffering from prenatal depression.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , around 14%-23% of pregnant women experience depression during pregnancy. The symptoms mimic that of postpartum depression , and can be scary without a diagnosis. Here, I share my journey with prenatal depression in hopes of helping other moms-to-be in the same boat.

Tip : Support Your Health

Postpartum Hormones: Reasons For Imbalance And Tips To ...

In order to overcome depression, you have to do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what youre able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Aim for eight hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems whether youre sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. But you can get on a better sleep schedule by adopting healthy sleep habits.

Keep stress in check. Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it. Figure out all the things in your life that stress you out, such as work overload, money problems, or unsupportive relationships, and find ways to relieve the pressure and regain control.

Practice relaxation techniques.A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.

Care for a pet. While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being neededboth powerful antidotes to depression.

Develop a wellness toolbox to deal with depression

  • Spend some time in nature.
  • List what you like about yourself.
  • Read a good book.
  • Watch a funny movie or TV show.
  • Take a long, hot bath.
  • Take care of a few small tasks.
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    Common Hormonal Imbalances That Can Cause Depressive Symptoms

    Of all of the hormones our bodies produce, there are four that above all others are known to lead to symptoms of depressive disorders when they are out of balance.

    • Estrogen: Estrogen plays a role in the production of neurotransmitters in your brain . Too much or too little estrogen can change the neurotransmitter levels and lead to feelings of depression.6
    • Progesterone: Often called the relaxation hormone, progesterone has a calming effect when it is produced at the right levels. When hormones are off-kilter or when progesterone hormone is low, it can lead to depression, as well as irritability, anxiety, sleepless nights, and brain fog.5
    • Testosterone: In both men and women, testosterone helps prevent depression, and decreases cognitive impairment and Alzheimers disease. Low testosterone levels have been shown to increase symptoms of depression and anxiety, such as trouble concentrating, lack of motivation, and fatigue.4,5
    • Thyroid: The thyroid plays a powerful role in keeping your brain and body healthy and involved in mood regulation. Too little or too much hormone is linked to of all depressions.5

    What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms Of Depression During Or After Pregnancy

    • Your baby blues don’t go away after 2 weeks
    • Symptoms of depression get more and more intense
    • Symptoms of depression begin any time after delivery, even many months later
    • It is hard for you to perform tasks at work or at home
    • You cannot care for yourself or your baby
    • You have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

    Your doctor can ask you questions to test for depression. Your doctor can also refer you to a mental health professional who specializes in treating depression.

    Some women don’t tell anyone about their symptoms. They feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty about feeling depressed when they are supposed to be happy. They worry they will be viewed as unfit parents.

    Any woman may become depressed during pregnancy or after having a baby. It doesn’t mean you are a bad or “not together” mom. You and your baby don’t have to suffer. There is help.

    Here are some other helpful tips:

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    Are Antidepressant Medications Safe During Pregnancy

    Growing evidence suggests that many of the currently available antidepressant medicines are relatively safe for treating depression during pregnancy, at least in terms of short-term effects on the baby. Long-term effects have not been fully studied. You should discuss the possible risks and benefits with your doctor.

    Are You At Risk For Depression

    Hormonal Changes in Postpartum Depression

    Some things make you more likely than others to have depression. These are called risk factors. Having a risk factor doesnt mean for sure that youll have depression. But it may increase your chances. Talk to your health care provider about what you can do to help reduce your risk.

    Your health care provider screens you for depression at your prenatal care checkups. Screening means that your provider asks you questions about your risks, feelings and mood. If the screening shows that you may be depressed or that youre at risk for depression, your provider can help you get treatment.

    Risk factors for depression during pregnancy include:

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    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression

    Major depression is more than just feeling down for a few days. You may have depression if you have signs or symptoms of depression that last for more than 2 weeks. Signs of a condition are things someone else can see or know about you, like you have a rash or youre coughing. Symptoms are things you feel yourself that others cant see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy.

    Signs and symptoms of depression include:

    Changes in your feelings

    • Thinking about death or suicide

    Changes in your everyday life

    • Eating more or less than you usually do
    • Having trouble remembering things, concentrating or making decisions
    • Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
    • Withdrawing from friends and family
    • Losing interest in things you usually like to do

    Changes in your body

    • Having no energy and feeling tired all the time
    • Having headaches, stomach problems or other aches and pains that dont go away

    If youre pregnant and you have any of these signs or symptoms, or if they get worse, call your health care provider. There are things you and your provider can do to help you feel better. If youre worried about hurting yourself, call emergency services at 911.

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