Female Hormones and Mental Health

This week I received two referrals from a local psychologist who specialises in women’s health and she is very attuned to how hormones can affect a woman and her mental health.

It’s so nice for me to hear when patients are listened to, and treated holistically.

Women are often dismissed when they ask their doctor, “could my hormones be the cause?”.

The connection between hormones and mood is real, and many women struggle with anxiety despite the medications they are offered.

This makes complete sense, because if your hormones are driving your anxiety, why would anything but fixing the hormonal imbalance be an appropriate solution?

Many Dr’s will advise you to ‘reduce your stress’, which in theory is brilliant advice (and it’s correct advice), but if you’re anything like my patients, this is easier said than done. Sound familiar?

If you’re a woman living with stress, then you might find it interesting to know WHY this advice is given.

Stress of any kind demands a response from your adrenal glands. This stress may be emotional, environmental, exercise-induced, disrupted sleep, an infection and the list goes on. Basically anything that gives your body the idea that ‘not everything is safe right now’ can be considered a ‘stress’ and elicit a response from your adrenal system.

Whilst this is our body’s way of keeping us alive and safe, the problem is that we live in a world where stress is a constant.

If you drive a car, eating on the run, feel financially unstable, are a parent without ample support then as you can imagine you are sending a constant stress signal to your body. When you think about it, it’s really quite amazing how the body handles all of this so well.

So how does stress affect hormones?

With this constant state of stress in mind, the body has elevated levels of a stress hormone cortisol. In order to keep fuelling this cortisol release, the body sacrifices production of progesterone. Healthy levels of progesterone hit a woman’s brain with a strong sense of calm and a deep sense of love and connection for the world around her. It does this by activating the dopamine and GABA receptors, which quietens the ‘freak out’ neurotransmitter activity.


This excess cortisol can also fuel excess oestrogen, whilst preventing its detoxification. Leaving a woman feeling more emotional and anxious, as if she were leading up to a period all month long

So with all this being said, is it any wonder women suffer from anxiety?

At ANC we focus on restoring balance by looking at addressing any nutrient deficiencies, removing inflammatory foods and of course, providing nutritional and supplemental support to help balance the cortisol, progesterone and oestrogen (two of the hormones that can hijack the brain).

I’m pleased to report we’ve been able to fix countless amounts of mood problems, just by looking at things from a different angle and by trusting our patient’s intuition. It’s easier than you think when you start really understanding the drivers.

If you’d like help then visit any of our ‘hormone whisperers’ in store. If you think things are a little more complex, then perhaps booking in for a consultation with James is the way to go.

If you’re more of a DIY health person, then there’s a good chance that this combo will get you most of the way to restoring cortisol-progesterone-oestrogen ratios.