Anxiety can happen at any moment, and for many different reasons. Life events like work stress, global events, past relationships, social obligations, and family conflict are some of the main culprits when it comes to triggering anxiety. But anxiety can also be fueled by physical things like caffeine intake, lack of sleep, and diet.
That being said, it shouldn’t be that hard to believe that hormones could play a part in your anxiety as well.
Can hormones really affect your anxiety? Let’s find out!
Hormones and Anxiety
It’s true! Your hormones can have an effect on your anxiety. Hormonal imbalances can contribute to anxiety. Typically, anxiety is caused by a combination of hormones and existing mental health issues. However, it helps to know how these things interact and impact your anxiety level.
Let’s take a closer look at how stress hormones, sex hormones, and thyroid hormones may contribute to anxiety.
Stress Hormone (Cortisol)
Cortisol is a hormone that is produced and released by your adrenal glands. Whenever your body perceives harm or any type of threat, cortisol is released as a way to defend itself against stress. This reaction is also known as the fight-or-flight response. This is helpful when keeping us safe from danger in the short-term. But in the long term, we can get stuck in a cycle of imbalance.
When you’re experiencing stress, the release of cortisol can cause a hormonal imbalance within your body as a way for your body to regulate itself.
One of the downsides of the release of cortisol is that it means that your hormones are typically unbalanced, which can lead to increased anxiety.
Sex Hormones (Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone)
When a woman is going through the premenstrual part of her cycle, fluctuating hormone levels can cause high estrogen, leading to increased anxiety.
Since progesterone naturally releases happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine, when progesterone levels are low, it can lead to alterations in mood and behavior, causing anxiety.
Low testosterone can also cause changes in mental and physical health. Low testosterone can lead to low sex drive and muscle mass, which is also linked to increased anxiety.
Anxiety can also increase due to an overactive or underactive thyroid.
If someone has an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism, the boost in their metabolism can cause their entire nervous system to be more active and put them under more stress.
On the other hand, an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism can cause the body to not produce enough hormones. This can cause the body’s natural metabolic process to slow down.
Similar to sex hormones, the mood changes caused by the thyroid can cause or worsen anxiety.
If you’re experiencing anxiety, there are ways to ease and control your symptoms.
Exercise is a simple and effective way to manage and reduce stress. Aim for 30 minutes every day. Try stretching, doing yoga, going on a walk outside, attending a workout class, or hitting the gym. Find the routine that works best for you.
Getting a better grasp on your nutrition can make you feel better from the inside out. Typically, stress can bring on cravings for comfort foods or foods that are not the best for you to have, especially in large quantities.
When you eat better, you’ll feel better. You also won’t fall victim to the cravings you may have next time you’re experiencing stress.
You may wonder if it’s possible to relax and enjoy your life. Anxiety therapy can make it possible.