As many people are aware, there are all sorts of causes of anxiety – from genetics, to gut health, to lifestyle, and so much more! But have you ever considered that your HORMONES could be one of the root causes of your anxiety?! In this article I’m talking all about what “Hormone Induced Anxiety” is – and what you can do about it!
What is Hormone Induced Anxiety?
I could have tried to come up with a super fancy explanation of what hormone induced anxiety is, but in all honesty it’s exactly as it sounds – anxiety that is induced by varying hormone levels. Although it’s normal for some hormones to slightly increase anxiety levels (such as cortisol, our main stress hormone) – when there is an imbalance in certain hormones, this can be the cause for abnormally heightened levels of anxiety – which can create a lot of un-ease within the body & mind!
When Does Hormone Induced Anxiety Occur?
Most often hormone induced anxiety occurs in the pre-menstrual (Luteal) phase of ones cycle due to the changes in estrogen & progesterone. However, hormone induced anxiety can occur at any point throughout ones menstrual cycle due to abnormal fluctuations or imbalanced hormones. It’s important to know that although woman are twice as likely to experience anxiety than men are (1) hormone induced anxiety does not just occur in females – it can also occur in males or those who do not menstruate due to low testosterone levels or other hormone fluctuations
What Hormone Imbalances Induce Anxiety?
- ESTROGEN DOMINANCE: Having chronically elevated levels of estrogen compared to progesterone can greatly increase anxiety. It’s important to note that your balance of estrogen to progesterone is crucial in order to help cultivate feelings of calm within your body and avoid inducing anxiety or feelings of irritability
- ESTROGEN DEFICIENCY: Not having enough estrogen can induce your anxiety. This is because when properly balanced with progesterone, estrogen can actually have a calming effect on your body. Interestingly, you can be both estrogen dominant & deficient at the same time if your progesterone levels are too low
- LOW TESTOSTERONE: both men & woman have testosterone. If levels are too low anxiety might be induced. Not only this, testosterone has some control over the release of cortisol, so when testosterone is low, cortisol is more likely to increase, further exacerbating the feelings of anxiety (2)
- LOW PROGESTERONE: when progesterone levels are too low, it can induce anxiety. This is because after ovulation, progesterone levels should typically rise. This rise in progesterone stimulates the GABA receptor in your brain, which is a neurotransmitter that helps to calm down the nervous system and therefore can help to reduce feelings of anxiety. However, if progesterone levels are too low (as is common in many woman who experience intense PMS), GABA isn’t stimulated and therefore doesn’t carry out its job of calming down the nervous system effectively (3)
What to do about Hormone Induced Anxiety?
- Work with a health practitioner (such as a nutritionist like myself 🙂 ) to discuss DUTCH hormone testing. This will give you a clear picture of what your hormone levels are like and provide more indication about an exact plan of action you should take. Feel free to CONTACT ME to learn more about how you can get your hormones tested and a protocol in place to support bringing your body into balance
- Decrease caffeine & sugar intake (these burden the liver and can cause excess estrogen build up)
- Eat organic (pesticide free foods) as much as possible
- Eat more cruciferous veggies (these contain Indole 3 Carbinols that help to clear out excess estrogens)
- Try seed cycling (for those who menstruate)
- Avoid dairy & processed meats – opt for more plant proteins instead
- Eat more fibre rich foods such as beans/ legumes, oats, whole grains, veg, & fruit
- Focus on consuming more healthy fats (omega 3’s, avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, etc.)
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