Testosterone Replacement Therapy For Anxiety: What The Evidence Tells Us
Andy was tired of being tired and tense. Hecouldnt remember the last time he felt in control at work, focused on the job.His mind was constantly moving, especially in the direction of unfortunatewhat-ifs. He had been on an antidepressant for anxiety for years, but it nolonger seemed to do the trick. Nor did any of the other SSRIs he tried, or thetherapy he attended weekly.
When the other treatment routes failed to bring relief, Andys doctor finally decided to test his hormone levels. And when the results showed less than optimal testosterone, she ordered another round of tests to verify a pattern of testosterone deficiency. With the combination of frustrating symptoms and concrete biomarkers, Andys doctor was able to map out a route for hormone replacement therapy to help restore his health and his mood from the inside.
Testosterone replacement therapy for anxiety maynot be a well-known treatment option, but evidence suggests that it can providesignificant relief for those struggling with anxiety symptoms as a result oflow T. If hormone imbalance is the cause of your distress, hormone rebalancingmay be the solution.
Is Hormone Therapy For Social Anxiety Possible
While it may sound fanciful that one day we might treat anxiety disorders with hormone therapy, the truth is that research on this topic is already happening. In one study, it was shown that women exposed to trauma who were administered female sex hormones were less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder after the event.
This fascinating and ground-breaking research is likely to lead to advances in the area of hormone treatment of anxiety. It isn’t that much of a stretch to imagine that this new understanding of the role of hormones in anxiety and fear could lead to treatments that relate to hormones.
At present, however, beyond treating an underlying thyroid condition, or hormone replacement therapy for problems related to menopause in women, your doctor is not likely to prescribe hormone treatment that will help to improve social anxiety.
How Can Hormonal Imbalance And Anxiety Be Treated
There are different options women can turn to in order to tackle their anxiety due to a hormonal imbalance:
- Discuss with a close friend or family member what causes your anxiety episodes.
- Avoid taking on stressful assignments
- Spread out responsibilities among family members and friends in order to avoid anxiety episodes.
- Visit a counselor to talk about anxiety due to a hormonal imbalance and discuss how these problems can be overcome.
Thus, women should ensure that they are receiving the correct emotional support for their menopause symptoms. However, there are also lifestyle changes that can help women to prevent a hormonal imbalance and anxiety episodes.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is filled with fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly, it is recommended for half an hour a day, five times a week
- Sleep for 7 to 8 hours a night
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Avoid alcohol
These are some tips that can help women to overcome their anxiety due to a hormonal imbalance. Nevertheless, there are other treatments that women can turn to in order to beat their hormonal imbalance. For example, there are many natural supplements available that help to boost estrogen and progesterone hormone levels, and combat anxiety.
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Reduce Your Inflammation Levels
Dr. Kelly says that anti-inflammatory diets and nutritional therapies have also been effective when it comes to addressing inflammation that might lead to depressive or anxious mood issues.
Studies have also shown that stress-induced inflammation can be addressed by stress reduction techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation, she says. These are all conservative, safe, and effective approaches to improve depression and anxiety in those with endocrine disorders.
In the end, the mind and body are interconnected. Rather than thinking of them as separate, which theyre not, its smart to think of them as one machine with many moving parts. For this reason, be sure to advocate for yourself with your healthcare providers and ask for a systemic examination of your issues.
You Really Are Noticing More Symptoms
For some women, PMS hits like a truck. It doesnt just bring on new symptoms. It may also make the problems youre already dealing with considerably worse.
Take Abby, for example. Abby struggles with anxiety every day. Shes constantly double-checking to make sure shes taken care of everything. The idea of anything falling through the cracks terrifies her. She often snaps at her loved ones without meaning to.
When PMS arrives, it often makes Abby feel even worse. Sometimes, its hard for her to even leave the house! Abby doesnt suffer from PMDD. Its just that PMS makes her anxiety much worse. It is clear she needs treatment for anxiety and depression. That treatment is hormone balancing.
Anxiety isnt the only thing that can get worse during PMS. You may also notice an increase in:
One study followed 32 women who appeared to meet the criteria for PMDD based on their symptoms. After daily charting, it became clear that 59% of these women also met the criteria for a current depressive or anxiety disorder. These women, rather than suffering from PMDD, had symptoms of depression or anxiety that got worse with PMS.
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Should I See A Doctor
If your symptoms dont improve after lifestyle changes or you think you may have PMDD or PME, its worth following up with your healthcare provider.
If youve been tracking your period and PMS symptoms, bring those along to the appointment if you can.
If you do have PME or PMDD, the first line of treatment for both conditions are antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors . SSRIs increase serotonin levels in your brain, which may help decrease depression and anxiety.
Replacing What’s Been Lost
You probably already know that hormones are sometimes given to people to improve their health. Hormone replacement therapy, for instance, is commonly prescribed to women to reduce the symptoms of menopause. These can include hot flashes, depression, and sexual problems. In addition, replacing some of the female hormones that the body stops making may help stave off many diseases.
‘It is used for prevention of osteoporosis and vascular disorders,’ says Halbreich. ‘It is very good for prevention of cognitive decline and in the enhancement of certain .’ Replacing estrogen at menopause may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by five to seven years.
Hormone replacement therapy is not just for women. As men age, their bodies also produce fewer male hormones. There’s evidence that replacing these hormones can help men stave off some of the effects of aging, including decline in intellectual functioning, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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Practical Powerful Ways To Help Manage Anxiety
Understand why it feels the way it does.
Understanding why anxiety feels the way it does will be one of your greatest tools in managing it. Think of it like this. Imagine being in a dark room that is full of stuff. When you walk around in the dark, youre going to bump into things. Youre going to scrape, bruise and maybe drop a few choice words. Turn on the light though, and those things are still there, but now you can navigate your way around them. No more bumps. No more scrapes. And no more having to hold your tongue in front of people who can confiscate your phone. Heres what you need to know
Anxiety happens because a part of your brain thinks there might be something it needs to protect you from. When this happens, it surges your body with a mix of neurochemicals , designed to make you stronger, faster, more alert and more powerful so you can fight for your life or run for it. This is the fight or flight response. Its normal and healthy and its in everyone. In people with anxiety, its just a little quicker to activate.
The amygdala acts on impulse. Its a do-er, not a thinker all action and not a lot of thought. It just wants to keep you safe, because safe is a lovely thing to be and because thats been its job since the beginning of humans. The amygdala cant always tell the difference between something that might hurt you and something that wont and it doesnt care. All it wants to do is keep you safe.
You might feel dizzy or a bit confused.
Anxiety Depression And Hormones
Take a look at Lucy. Shes had depression most of her life. There have always been good days and bad days, but recently, Lucy found an unexpected link: her menstrual cycle. Her moods, it turned out, were much lower during certain parts of her cycle, and much higher during others.
With hormone treatment, however, Lucy found that she could have more good days than bad days. Even better, those treatments banished some of her depressive symptoms once and for all.
Hormonal imbalances often cause or contribute to womens anxiety and depression systems. Across the United States, as many as 18% of the adult population suffers from an anxiety-related disorder. Another 7% deals with a major depressive disorder on a regular basis.
That number goes up significantly for women, who are more than twice as likely to face mood disorders. Its not just a US problem, either. Around the world, women have a higher likelihood than men of suffering from anxiety or depression. Thats a huge difference! The difference suggests that sex hormones may have a huge impact on anxiety and depression.
Are you still on the fence about whether hormones could be to blame for your anxiety or depression?
Are you reluctant to assign the blame to hormones?
Consider this: studies show that women have more problems with a variety of issues during times when hormones swing more widely. These include:
- Perimenstrual periods
- Postpartum periods
How Your Hormones Can Impact Your Mental Health
More research is needed around how hormones and mental health are connected, but experts say there is definitely an interaction between hormones and well-being. Heres what we know: Your endocrine system works in tandem with your nervous system known as the hypothalamic-pituitary system to maintain a sense of homeostasis, or physiological equilibrium. This equilibrium is what the body wants, but when its not achieved, a lot can go wrong.
When something is out of balance with your hormones it has an effect on the whole system, which means youre going to feel it manifest both in your body and your mind.
Ready for a deeper dive? According to Dr. Cory Rice, internist and certified BioTE practitioner, The major endocrine glands in humans are the thyroid gland and the adrenal glands. If this chemical messaging system or the hormone feedback loops are negatively compromised in any way, this can have profound effects on someones health, particularly as it relates to their mental health.
For example, he says, the thyroid gland is the master gland of our endocrine system. Its responsible for producing the hormones T3 and T4, and its T3 that has a major role in ones mental health. Many of the T3 receptors in our body are concentrated in our brain. So if we have a thyroid gland that is underperforming , there is not enough thyroid hormone getting to the brain. This can, and oftentimes will, lead to increased rates of depression or anxiety or other mental health issues.
S To Balance Hormones Naturally
Hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline and insulin are extremely important chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your overall health.
Conventional treatments for hormonal imbalances typically include synthetic hormone replacement therapies, birth control pills, insulin injections, thyroid medications and more. Unfortunately, for the majority of people suffering from hormonal disorders, relying on these types of synthetic treatments often does three things:
Is it possible to balance hormones naturally? The good news is: yes, in many cases it is. Below youll learn about some root causes of hormonal problems, as well as about treatment options to help you balance your hormones naturally.
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Women’s Health Topics We Need To Talk About In 2020
And she warns that for these women, it’s something to take seriously. “If you’re having serious depression, and your functioning is affected, if you’re having suicidal thoughts, or you feel completely hopeless, that is a major depressive episode that absolutely needs treatment,” she says.
A vulnerable time
Perimenopausal mood swings often resemble symptoms of premenstrual syndrome women might feel sad, or sluggish, or irritable.
“I’ve had people say that they feel like they have PMS all the time,” says psychiatrist Hadine Joffe, who leads the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “They just don’t feel like they’re in control of their mood and they feel edgy.”
Generally though, these mood swings are manageable, she adds. “The good news is that most women will navigate their perimenopause without serious mental health issues.”
But a significant number of women about 18% among women in early perimenopause and 38% of those in late perimenopause experience symptoms of depression. And symptoms of anxiety appear to be more common during this time leading up to menopause, including panic attacks.
Those most at risk are women with a history of mental illness, as well as women whose moods are particularly sensitive to hormonal fluctuations.
“Women who had postpartum depression or have always had significant mood changes premenstrually are going to be at risk of having more symptoms,” says Payne.
Is There Any Way To Prevent It
The tips discussed above can help to manage active PMS symptoms and reduce your chances of experiencing them. But theres not a whole lot else you can do about PMS.
However, you might be able to get more bang for your buck out of those tips by tracking your symptoms throughout your cycle using an app or diary. Add in data about your lifestyle changes so you can get a better idea of whats most effective and what you can maybe skip.
For example, mark down days in which you get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. See if your symptoms decrease overtime as your fitness level increases.
Medication And Hormone Therapy
You should talk to your doctor about any and all methods you use to manage your anxiety and mood swings, but when it comes to medication and hormone replacement therapy , you must work closely with your healthcare provider. A Certified Menopause Practitioner may be best suited to help you determine which type of treatment will work for you.
Often, nonhormonal prescription medications can be used to treat the mental and emotional symptoms of menopause. Antidepressants like SSRIs can help with depression and anxiety. Some antidepressants may also help treat hot flashes, so thats another reason to ask your doctor about them.
Hormone replacement therapy treats menopause-related anxiety and mood swings by addressing the core cause of the symptoms: hormone imbalance. There are several types of hormone replacement therapy available and a menopause practitioner with experience in HRT can guide you through your options.
University Of Texas Study
A three-year University of Texas study examined the long-term effects of bioidentical hormone therapy on menopausal symptoms, including mood alterations such as anxiety.
Over this period, women taking bioidentical hormones did not experience any adverse effects. The women also scored well on standardized tests measuring anxiety and depression levels.
Some of the women took bioidentical estrogen and/or progesterone in oral form, while others received their hormones via a topical cream.
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Hormonal Ways To Relieve Social Anxiety
Although hormonal changes may be related to social anxiety, treatment with hormonal therapy is not currently a common recommendation. Instead, your best option is some form of traditional treatment for SAD as well as understanding and adapting to the role of hormones in your anxiety.
What is not helpful is self-medicating. Try to avoid temporary “fixes” like sugar, alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or other substances that give you a quick feel-good surge but don’t solve the long-term anxiety problem. Below are six tips to get you started.
Hormonal Imbalance And Weight Gain
People with Cushing syndrome have high levels of cortisol in their blood. This leads to an increase in appetite and fat storage.
Hypothyroidism, if the condition is severe, can also lead to weight gain.
During menopause, many women gain weight because the metabolism slows down. You may find that even though youre eating and exercising like normal, you still gain weight.
The only way to treat weight gain from a hormone disorder is to treat the underlying condition.
During a normal, healthy pregnancy, your body goes through major hormonal changes. This is different than a hormonal imbalance.
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Hormonal Imbalances And Depression
With Patricia Celan MD and Cory Rice DO
When something is out of balance with your hormones, it has an affect on the whole system, which means you’re going to feel it manifest in both your body and mind.
You might have noticed that your hypothyroidism comes with the frustrating side effect of a depressed mood, or that your adrenal disorder triggers anxiety, agitation, or an inability to focus. Its unfortunately not uncommon, but being aware of how it all fits together and what you can do to manage it is key.