The endocrine system has glands that are responsible for producing chemicals known as hormones. These hormones circulate to organs and tissues in the body through the bloodstream. Hormones deliver messages that inform your body organs on what and when to do something. However, sometimes imbalances occur, so we must ask, can hormone imbalances cause anxiety?
Hormonal imbalances occur when your bloodstream has too little or too much hormones. Hormones play an integral role in the functionality of your body. Therefore, a small imbalance can lead to side effects throughout the body.
Hormones are essential in regulating primary bodily processes. Imbalances in steroids, adrenaline, insulin, and growth hormones affect both men and women. Imbalances in progesterone and estrogen levels affect women, while imbalances in testosterone levels affect men. Here are some of the body functions that hormones help in regulating:
- Heart rate
- Mood and stress levels
- Sleep cycles
- Metabolism and appetite
- Body temperature
- Sexual function and reproductive cycles
Signs of Hormonal Imbalance
The affected hormones and glands determine the signs of hormonal imbalance. It would be best to look out for some of these symptoms related to the most common causes of hormonal imbalance.
- Fatigue: While people getting often, they should recover after enough rest, a healthy diet, and hydration. Consider getting a test to evaluate your hormones if you still feel fatigued after taking care of yourself. Hormonal imbalance tests diagnose adrenal fatigue.
- Anxiety: A high percentage of people suffer from anxiety disorders. Women are more prone than men to stress due to hormonal imbalances because of estrogen changes during menopause, menstrual cycle, or pregnancy. Low testosterone levels in men cause anxiety.
- Low sex drive and PMS: Low progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone in both men and women cause reduced sex drive. Decreased production in hormones can also cause irregular periods, hot flashes, infertility, or mood swings.
- Digestive issues: Neurotransmitters are more in the gut system than in the brain. That explains why digestive problems often accompany depression and anxiety. Hormonal imbalance can affect bacteria in your gut, causing nausea, bloating, or diarrhea.
How Hormonal Imbalance Causes Anxiety
An imbalance in the endocrine system leads to anxiety due to hormonal imbalance. The endocrine system is vital in maintaining your emotional state. The system helps in keeping your calm, regulating energy levels, and how you handle stress. An imbalanced hormonal system causes mood swings, irritability, tense muscles, and signs of anxiety to happen. Reduced production of estrogen hormone during menopause negatively affects cognitive function and moods. Similarly, a drop in progesterone levels causes stress.
Stress is a primary cause of anxiety. Adrenal glands produce several hormones necessary for proper body functioning, such as producing stress-regulating hormones and blood sugar regulation. Thyroid problems, due to hormonal imbalance, also cause anxiety. An underactive or overactive thyroid gland can cause anxiety.
Common Hormonal Causes of Anxiety
Several hormones are neurologically active, which implies that they have several effects on your brain, including affecting moods. Any form of hormonal dysfunction causes anxiety because your body becomes stressed due to poorly functioning hormones. Abnormal hormone levels occur due to many reasons, such as aging or dysfunction of an endocrine organ. Here are some of the common hormonal causes of anxiety that you need to know.
- Progesterone Deficiency
Estrogen dominance is where estrogen levels are elevated, causing depression and anxiety. Also, estrogen interferes with the functionality of the adrenal by impairing cortisol release. Notably, low cortisol levels lead to muscle loss, fatigue, and mood swings.
2. Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal glands play an essential role in managing your body’s response to stress. Chronic stress leads to the glands to overwork, leaving them exhausted. Therefore, they cannot correctly regulate hormones. Adrenal fatigue makes people feel stressed out, jittery, and anxious.
3. Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism
An overactive thyroid causes signs of anxiety. But, people with an underactive thyroid can also cause insomnia. Hypothyroidism also causes depression and anxiety.
4. Low Testosterone
Testosterone is often linked with men. However, women also require testosterone. Low testosterone levels in both women and men cause depressions and signs of anxiety.
Treating Anxiety from Hormonal Imbalances
To treat anxiety resulting from hormonal imbalance, you first need to treat the underlying concern by restoring the required hormone levels.
The first step should be visiting a doctor if you realize that your anxiety results from imbalances in your hormones. Once you can manage your hormonal levels, then you treat stress caused by hormonal imbalances. Some of the ways you can regulate hormones naturally to treat anxiety include:
- Incorporating healthy fats such as omega-3, fatty acids, and omega-6
- Incorporating adaptogenic herbs to reduce the level of the stress hormone known as cortisol
- Supplement with Vitamin D to enhance your immune functions, inflammatory response, and cell differentiation
- Getting adequate sleep to avoid fatigue
Understanding Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a common emotion because your brain reacts to stress and alerts you of possible danger ahead. You may feel anxious before a test or before making a significant decision. While occasional anxiety is okay, anxiety disorders are not. An anxiety disorder is a mental illness that causes an individual to fear always.
The excessive fear resulting from anxiety disorders makes the individuals avoid social interactions, school, work, or family functions because these occasions might worsen or trigger your symptoms. Some of the anxiety disorders may include:
- Panic disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Selective mutism
- Social anxiety disorder
- Separation anxiety
- Specific phobias
The typical sign of anxiety disorder is excessive worry or fear. The specific symptoms are based on the anxiety disorder type. Other common signs include:
- Feelings of doom, panic, or danger
- Sleep problems
- Shortness of breath
- Not able to remain calm
- Tense muscles
- Inability to concentrate
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders occur due to several factors, also depending on the specific type of condition. Some common causes are:
- Genetics: Anxiety can run in families
- Environmental stress: Stressful events in life, such as the death of a family member or friend, childhood neglect or abuse, seeing, or being a victim of violence, can cause anxiety disorders.
- Medical conditions: some thyroid, heart, and lung illnesses can have similar signs to anxiety or make the situation worse than before.
- Hormonal imbalances: An imbalance in your hormones can result in anxiety disorders. Women are more susceptible to anxiety as a result of hormonal imbalances more than men.
- Drug abuse or withdrawal: Alcohol and substance abuse often result in anxiety disorders.
So can hormone imbalances cause anxiety? Yes, individuals with an anxiety disorder because of hormonal imbalances tend to think that they have a mental illness, but it’s not the case.
Anxiety caused by hormonal imbalances is a way of the body, indicating that something is wrong. Stress is associated with hormonal imbalance, and it’s crucial to consult a doctor for evaluation.
Try out natural ways to regulate hormones, such as getting adequate sleep, improving your diet, or taking supplements.