How Do You Avoid Side Effects
There isn’t much you can do to prevent side effects sometimes, theres not a lot that you can do to prevent side effects from happening. There are a few things that you can do to reduce the likelihood of getting side effects or the severity of symptoms, such as taking oral hormone replacement therapy with food or doing gentle stretches to relieve pain.
Alternative treatments if you do not want to take HRT, there are alternatives available:
Deciding to quit smoking, eating a healthy diet, and regular exercise can help reduce symptoms of menopause. Also, you can avoid foods or drinks that trigger hot flushes or use a vagnial lubricant to improve dryness. Some women find that they dont need medication after they make some of these lifestyle changes
Some antidepressants can be used to improve hot flushes, although they are not licensed for this use. Speak to your GP to find out more about this treatment for menopausal symptoms
These are hormones which are made from plant products which mimic the bodys natural hormones and the hormones used in HRT. However, we do not recommend this type of treatment as they are not regulated and its not yet clear how safe they are
Types Of Hormone Replacement Therapy
In the early years of HRT, doctors most often prescribed it in the form of synthetic prescription medications. These drugs are made from a blend of hormones isolated from a pregnant horses urine.
Premarin is the synthetic form of estrogen, while Provera is the synthetic version of progesterone. Though synthetic drugs used to be the preferred HRT theyve become less popular in recent years.
Some risks were identified in clinical trials that led many people to seek out an alternative form of HRT called bioidentical HRT.
Bioidentical hormones are generally extracted from elements found in nature. Some examples of commercially available bioidentical HRT include Estrace and Vagifem.
Patients may need a custom compound of HRT when their prescribed strength isnt commercially available or another dose form is needed. In compounded bioidentical HRT, a pharmacist mixes a special blend of hormones intended to replace the depleted hormones in your body.
The goal of HRT is to manage the symptoms of menopause, not necessarily to return the hormone levels back to a normal range.
Since each dose varies from person to person, compounded bioidentical hormones are difficult to test for safety and effectiveness on an overall basis.
The lack of information on the risks of bioidentical hormones causes many people to assume that these natural hormones are better or safer than synthetic hormones.
- bone loss
- mood swings
- hot flashes
Additional Contributors To Depression
Women with a history of mood disorders are pre-conditioned to experience hormonal depression during menopause. Surgical menopause, or a hysterectomy, also heightens the risk of developing depression because of the drastic, rather than gradual, drop in estrogen. Additional stressors like children, a high stress job, or smoking, also make menopause depression more likely in women. Stress is difficult enough for our bodies to handle, add to thathormone imbalances and drastic physical changes, and you have a recipe for disaster.
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How They Are Related
Many women going through perimenopause or menopause can tell you that extreme shifts in hormonal levels often lead to feelings of depression. Whether its a new onset of depressive symptoms or exaggerated symptoms from an existing diagnosis, managing the mood swings along with other symptoms can, at times, feel very overwhelming.
It is only recently that the medical community created guidelines for the evaluation and treatment of perimenopausal depression.
Some of the challenge in evaluating perimenopausal depression is due to the fact that several of the symptoms related to its hormonal changes overlap with common symptoms of depression and other menopausal symptoms that often present similarly.
Symptoms including, insomnia, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood problems are common during perimenopause and menopause.
The risk of developing symptoms related to depression is known to increase among women as they transition to menopause.
How Can You Tell If You Are Having Hrt Side Effects
It’s not always easy to tell some side effects of hormone replacement therapy are easy to pick out. Others can be hard to distinguish from symptoms of menopause.
Timing is a good indication generally, if you start experiencing symptoms after you start or change HRT it could be a side effect of treatment. If these symptoms improve when you stop or change HRT treatment, its quite likely that what you experienced was a side effect.
There could be other causes other underlying conditions can cause some of the symptoms listed above. For example, heart or liver problems can cause swelling of the ankles and mental health conditions can cause mood changes. We recommend that you speak to a doctor if any of these symptoms bother you.
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When Psychiatric Medication Is Definitely Not The Answer
In cases where the cause of the mood changes is hormonal, there tends to be a very minimal response to the medication thats typically prescribed for depression and for bipolar disorder. This is because, instead of being a problem with serotonin, dopamine, or other neurotransmitters, the problem is with the womans response to fluctuations in estrogen levels. When the appropriate diagnosis is not made, the result tends to be years of inappropriate drug therapy including anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotic medication, and anti-convulsants or seizure medication, without noticing any real improvement.
If You Think Your Contraception Is Making You Anxious Or Depressed Youre Not Imagining Things Evolutionary Psychologist Sarah E Hill Explains What Happens To Your Brain On Birth Control
Most women know at least one or two other women who have had a bad reaction to the pill. In fact, the question that many of us have about the pill: Why does the pill make me crazy?
Before I get into what the research says about all this, let me just address the elephant in the room the whole thing about womens sex hormones influencing mood. Which they do. This might be the worlds oldest cliché about women, but that doesnt make it any less true. Womens sex hormones influence womens moods. Mens sex hormones affect mens moods. It would be impossible for them not to.
Back to the question. To start with, all of us feel a little crazy sometimes. Life is hard and can make anyone feel anxious and overwhelmed at times. For some women, being on the pill can magnify these feelings, leading to anxiety disorders and depression. But if these things happen to you, it doesnt mean youre crazy it just means youre on the wrong pill.
Mood-related issues like anxiety and depression are super-common among women on the pill. Almost half of all women who go on the pill stop using it within the first year because of intolerable side effects, and the one most frequently cited is unpleasant changesin mood. Sometimes its intolerable anxiety other times, its intolerable depression or maybe both simultaneously. And even though some womens doctors may tell them that those mood changes arent real or important, a growing body of research suggests otherwise.
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Our Approach At The Offices Of Leigh Ann Scott Md In Las Colinas
Dr. Leigh Ann Scott and Nurse Practitioner Elise Lewis are both hormone experts. Treatment begins with comprehensive lab testing to include hormones, as well as a myriad of other health markers to give us a clear picture of any underlying issues that may be the cause of your depression.
Additionally, we recognize that many factors can contribute to hormone imbalances and symptoms. We discuss ways to improve diet and nutrition, stress management, and ways to get better sleep. Read more about our Hormone Balancing here.
Our philosophy is that everyone is unique and individual we realize that normal varies from person to person. Our mission is to help you obtain optimal health and feel great again.
‘a Lifeline’ For Doctors Helps Them Treat Postpartum Depression
At the time, Hines lived alone in Philadelphia where she worked as an assistant principal at a school. She struggled to get out of bed and go to work, and she began to withdraw from friends.
Looking back, she remembers feeling isolated and unmoored. “It was such a fog over who I was, what I wanted, where I was going, what I was capable of accomplishing,” she says. “I just could not find my footing.”
Hines knew she was likely going through perimenopause, that is the years leading up to menopause, when women’s monthly hormonal cycles become erratic as their bodies prepare to stop menstruating.
What she didn’t realize and many women don’t know is that the hormonal changes of perimenopause can bring changes in mood, and for some, a heightened risk of anxiety and depression.
“Women who have a previous diagnosis of major depression or anxiety disorder are going to be at a greater risk during the perimenopausal time,” says Jennifer Payne, who directs the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins University.
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Ways To Even Out Menopause Mood Swings
Feeling up one minute and down the next? It’s just another day of cycling through menopause symptoms. Here are some treatments that may help.
As you go through menopause, your moods can change rapidly. One minute youre up, the next youre down. Doctors dont know for certain why so many women experience mood swings as a menopause symptom, but most believe that fluctuating hormones play a big role. How you treat mood swings will depend on how severe they are, so start by talking with your doctor.
Sometimes you need to see someone who is knowledgeable to sort it out and determine what course of treatment you need, says Lauren F. Streicher, MD, a gynecologist in Chicago. You might ask your physician, for example, to evaluate you to confirm that your mood swings are related to menopause and not the result of depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. If they are just normal change-of-life emotions, these nine tips may help you take control of both your hormones and your happiness.
Hormonal Disorder Or Mood Disorder: How To Tell The Difference
Because lab results can be very similar in women with hormonal disorders and women with mood disorders, making the diagnosis of a hormonal disorder vs. depression or bipolar disorder relies heavily upon the symptoms of each woman. Here is a list of things that women whose mood changes are actually due to hormonal disorders frequently report:
- Mild to severe cyclical mood and/or behavioral changes with menstruation as a teenager
- Other premenstrual concerns such as menstrual migraines, bloating, or breast tenderness
- Anywhere from 5 to 20 good days per month
- A deep feeling or belief that their health concerns may be related to their hormonal status
- Relief from symptoms of depression and other mood changes during pregnancy
- Depression or other mood changes that started or returned after childbirth
- Pre-menstrual mood changes worsened with age and when menstrual cycles completely ceased , mood changes stopped being cyclical and became more or less constant
- Lack of or minimal response to medication prescribed for depression and/or bipolar disorder
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The Hormones That Affect Depression
There are several hormones that play a part in depression. The relationships between hormones and depression in women include:
Estrogen: Boosts serotonin, which helps fight depression and promotes sleep. It also increases GABA, the calming neurotransmitter and raises endorphins, which help you feel good. Low estrogen levels often found in menopause can cause feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Progesterone: This hormone helps to balance estrogen, helps promote sleep and has a natural calming effect. It also normalizes libido, is a natural diuretic and a natural antidepressant. Abnormal levels of progesterone cause insomnia and contribute to bad moods.
Cortisol: This stress hormone can cause depression if levels rise too high or fall to far below average. High levels of cortisol can create agitation, increased belly fat, insomnia and sugar cravings. Low levels can be associated with inability to handle stress, extreme fatigue, low libido and mood instability.
Q: Are Problems With Memory And Concentration A Normal Part Of Menopause
A: Unfortunately,trouble concentrating and minor memory problems can be a normal part ofmenopause. Experts dont understand exactly why this happens, but if you arehaving them, talk to your doctor. He or she can at least provide somereassurance.
Activities that stimulate your brain can also helprejuvenate your memory, so spend some time with crossword puzzles or cozy upwith a book. Keep in mind that depression and anxiety may make memory concernsmore noticeable.
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Neurobiology Of Estrogens Effects On Cognition And Mood
Estrogen works synergistically with many biological systems to promote physical, cognitive and affective function. Basic science reveals that administration of estrogen results in increased levels of antioxidants, reduces free radicals and substantially lowers oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA . Critical to neuronal health, estrogen also regulates glucose and oxidative metabolism, mitochondrial function, and promotes ATP . Indeed, declines in these processes are characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases such as AD .
Estrogen also interacts with a number of neurotransmitters affecting cognition and mood. Animal research reveals that long-term use of estrogen prevented declines in cholinergic nerve cell fiber length and density at menopause . In humans, the negative effect of cholinergic challenge on cognitive performance and neural activation patterns was counteracted by prior exposure to estradiol . Of note, naturally occurring higher levels of estrone were associated with poorer cognition, specifically working memory performance .
Estrogen And Postpartum Depression
Having “the blues” after childbirth is so common it’s considered normal. However, 10% to 25% of women experience a major depression within the first six months after childbirth. The abrupt drop in estrogen after delivery seems like the obvious culprit — but this link has never been proved.
Postpartum depression is treated like any other depression, with antidepressants, therapy, or both. Some preparations of estrogen do show promise as a potential add-on to these established treatments.
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Depression Symptoms In Women Due To Hormones
It is common for menopause to prompt emotions of sadness and depression in women. It is estimated that between 8% and 15% in menopause experience depression in women of some form, often beginning in perimenopause.
The onset of perimenopause and menopause result in a variety of physical and emotional symptoms which can cause stress, frustration, and ultimately depression. These symptoms, added to an already full load of responsibilities with your family, work, finances, etc., can be just too much to deal with. It doesnt help that most women dread menopause all of their lives due to the horror stories that are passed along by friends and family members.
Beyond that, depression, like stress, may be another symptom of menopause. The hormone imbalance associated with perimenopause and menopause inhibits your body from managing stress and experiencing positive moods. Hormones and depression in women are closely related.
But Is It Only Estrogen
Estrogen isnt the only hormone that can affect mental health. Other hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome , which is characterized by elevations in a hormone produced in the adrenal gland called dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and elevations in testosterone or testosterone-related symptoms can also lead to serious psychiatric symptoms that very closely resemble bipolar disorder with or without psychotic features. PCOS is the most common endocrine problem in women of reproductive age, and yet women with psychiatric symptoms that are most likely being caused by their hormonal conditions are mistakenly diagnosed with and sometimes inappropriately medicated for psychiatric conditions. Because symptoms dont improve on the medication, they are prescribed stronger and stronger medication leading to more symptoms that then have to be managed with more medications. Heres an interesting case study regarding PCOS and bipolar disorder: PCOS Case.
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Potential Causes Of Birth Control
Remember, tiredness can be a side effect albeit a rare one of using birth control, but researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact cause of fatigue related to contraceptives, says Dr. Roskin. Given the side effects listed on combination oral contraceptives, though, “the estrogen and progestin hormones in birth control may cause this in some people,” she says. Research shows progesterone and estrogen may be hypnogenic hormones, meaning they can help bring on sleep. As a result, using hormonal birth control, such as the pill, in the morning could potentially make you feel sleepy during the day, according to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research.“While it’s unlikely, some studies have shown that taking birth control can lead to daytime tiredness,” adds Dr. Roskin.
Menstruators who use a hormone-free copper IUD may also be more likely to deal with fatigue, says Dr. Yen. Unlike hormonal IUDs, this copper contraceptive often makes periods longer and causes heavier bleeding, especially in the first three to six months after insertion, according to Planned Parenthood. Due to that extra blood loss, you may be at greater risk of anemia and, consequently, fatigue, says Dr. Yen.
Can Birth Control Cause Mood Swings
We all know someone who swears that birth control completely wrecked their mood. Whether it was making them feel anxious, depressed, angry or like a crazy, jealous mad woman, theres no denying theres a link between birth control and mood swings or mood changes.
And maybe you were one of those people. I know I was.
When I was a teenager, my doctor put me on birth control pills. These made me feel depressed and I honestly had days where I didnt even recognize who I was anymore. But despite my insistence that the pill was the cause of my mood swings, my doctor assured me that there was no link.
Fast forward to me now. A doctor who works with women every day in my medical practice to undo the effects that hormonal birth control causes. Because it is real. Women come to me with new onset of depression, anxiety and mood swings after starting hormonal birth control. And I listen to their stories of how the pill or other synthetic hormones have created a huge disruption in their life.
Ive had patients tell me stories about completely falling out of love with their husband or partner after starting birth control.
Many women report lacking all motivation and joy, losing interest in hobbies and feeling like birth control robbed them of their mental edge at work.
And there are the women who feel disconnectedfrom their child, their friends, even themselves.
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