Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Its Impact on Depression and Anxiety
Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is used to replenish the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone which fluctuate and decline due to age or illness. Supplementing these hormones helps fight the symptoms of menopause and helps prevent the development of long-term diseases that can result from long-term hormone deficiencies. The goal of HRT is to enable the body to maintain healthy, balanced hormone levels in order to maintain sound holistic health. The best HRT, like the HRT used at Androgenix, is plant based and bioidentical. Bioidentical hormones are superior because they function identically to those hormones naturally produced in the body.
Unfortunately, years of misleading or inaccurate news reports and inflammatory headlines caused doctors to back away from their prescription pads and avoid prescribing hormones for women during their perimenopause or early post menopause years. They were hesitant to prescribe hormones to women in spite of having patients who were suffering from severe symptoms of menopause. More and more women started suffering with mild to severe levels of depression due to hormonal imbalances and the changes they were going through.
A 2002 study that linked HRT with breast cancer and heart disease caused an alarming 80% drop in the number of written HRT prescriptions. More recent testing has shown this 2002 study’s findings flawed, and new testing has shown that HRT is actually important for cardiovascular health. Women’s and doctors’ growing confidence in HRT is reflected in the increasing number of women who are choosing HRT.
Hormone replacement therapy has become more common due to new research and studies which highlight the success of HRT in women’s lives. Re[lacing synthetically produced hormones with bio-identical hormones is another important factor in the growing popularity and increased use of HRT. More and more women are turning to HRT to help them cope with the depressing symptoms of menopause, such as, hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, mental fog, bladder weakness, anxiety attacks, and sleep disruptions.
Depression is a complex condition which is caused and influenced by a variety of both external and internal factors. Internal factors frequently involve some sort of hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalances have been definitively linked to signs of depression in both men and women.
One of the roles of the hormone estrogen is to help the body produce dopamine and serotonin; these feel-good hormones are important mood-regulating neuro transmitters. Changes or imbalances in estrogen levels can cause mood swings, sadness, and feelings of darkness or depression. Low levels of serotonin cause stress which then becomes a vicious circle as even less serotonin is produced because of stress and the body’s increased production of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.
The hormone progesterone is important because it helps to stave off depression by balancing the body’s estrogen levels. Progesterone is also known to promotes a sense of calm and relaxation; however, progesterone can cause depression, anxiety, and irritability when its levels are either too low or too high. Good progesterone levels contribute to better sleeping patterns. Getting a good night’s sleep is important on so many levels. Good sleep allows the body to complete its necessary daily internal functions, allows it to rebuild on a cellular level, and allows it to rest while replenishing its energy stores.
Testosterone, found in both men and women, can cause common signs of depression when its levels are allowed to stay too low. Low testosterone can cause low energy levels, mental fog, and depression. The thyroid hormones are important because they are needed to regulate metabolism, energy levels, and aid in other body functions. Both hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) have been linked to depression. Changes in any of these hormone levels beyond the normal range can also alter neurotransmitters which then affects mood result in increased levels of sadness, anxiety, and irritability.
Hormone Replacement Therapy with estrogen, women who still have their wombs may include progesterone; While HRT carries certain risks, it is generally safer and more effective than anti-depressants. Studies have shown that HRT may keep symptoms of peri- and postmenopausal depression in many women, HRT is also effective in helping to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, short-term memory loss, depression, and other diseases in post-menopausal women. Injections of estrogen help increase serotonin levels in the body which are known to boost mood and lower risk of depression. As with any medical treatment plan, HRT should only be used with trained medical supervision, such as that provided by Androgenix.
How Androgenix Can Help
If you wonder whether hormone therapy might be right for you, talk with our staff and doctor about the risks and benefits. If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or have any other concerns about your health, please contact our office and make an appointment with our staff and visit our office to get complete blood work and a physical examination. You will be monitored by our team for treatment effectiveness and side effects on a regular basis. The team at Androgenix is here to support you in your journey for a better, healthier you. Our staff of caring healthcare practitioners will help diagnose and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you. Every person who enters our doors is treated as an individual deserving of care and respect. We can help you feel and look better. Give us a call today.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) | Menopause | Imaginis – The Women’s Health & Wellness Resource Network
- Hormonal Treatments for Major Depressive Disorder: State of the Art | American Journal of Psychiatry (psychiatryonline.org)
- Hormone therapy for depression: Are the risks worth the benefits? – Harvard Health
- Menopause: HRT linked to depression – here’s what the evidence actually says – Connecting Research (reading.ac.uk)
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.