Feeling a little blue? Before you ask your doctor about the latest antidepressant on the market, consider your hormone levels. More and more research is finding that among both men and women, declines in hormone levels associated with aging may result in depression or other forms of mental distress, such as anxiety and irritability. While the inevitable decline of your hormone levels may not seem like good news, it does mean that the solution to your depression (and often other side effects of aging) can be relieved with natural, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Testosterone Effective for Depression in Men and Women
Testosterone levels can have a significant impact on mood.
A 2002 study found that women suffering from depression often have low levels of estrogen and testosterone and may be successfully treated with combination hormone therapy. For men, the preliminary results of a study presented at the 2015 annual meeting of The Endocrine Society found that 50 percent of men with borderline levels of testosterone experienced depression. Testosterone therapy, along with lifestyle changes, reduced depressed feelings and other comorbidities (risks of disease) associated with low testosterone.
Testosterone therapy has been observed to be effective for addressing mental health distress related to hormonal decline, including depression, anxiety and irritability—for both men and women. Achieving and maintaining adequate testosterone levels has also been shown to improve lean body mass, concentration, sex drive, energy and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Estrogen Key to Managing Menopausal Depression
With symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, weight gain, mood swings and vaginal dryness, it is easy to see why menopause might lead to depression in some women. While the decline in quality of life might seem like it is mostly to blame for the onset of the blues, many times depression with menopause is linked to a hormonal imbalance.
Recent research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, has shown that estrogen therapy may be the key to treating depression associated with menopause. In the study, researchers compared the effects of estrogen therapy on postmenopausal women, both with and without depression. Those with depression felt better when estrogen therapy was administered and resumed depression symptoms when therapy was discontinued. Those who did not suffer from depression remained stable—their moods were unaffected by estrogen therapy. These outcomes suggest that declines in estrogen levels play a strong role in depression during menopause and even in the years after menopause, if levels remain low.
Experts in Hormonal Balance Can Help You Manage Your Moods
If you are experiencing depression, anxiety or irritability, talk to a doctor—it may be a symptom of a hormonal imbalance. Physicians specializing in functional medicine and hormones can help you get to the root cause of your symptoms. An expert in hormones and hormone therapy has extensive experience and training specific to hormonal imbalances, meaning your healthcare plan includes the latest research and most advanced therapies for addressing hormone imbalance and related symptoms, including depression.
The physicians of the BodyLogicMD network are among the most highly-trained physicians in the nation, who focus on whole body care—delivering solutions for achieving optimal health, not just managing symptoms. If you are concerned about how aging and hormonal imbalance may affect your mood, contact an expert physician of the BodyLogicMD network near you. With advanced diagnostic lab testing, one-on-one consultations and tailored treatment plans, you will get the most comprehensive and complete care for your health at any age.