Hormonal changes during a woman’s life can make them more susceptible to depression. While incidences of depression in women can be the result of social or environmental factors, depression often occurs during times of hormonal fluctuation.
Women can experience depression earlier in life in the days prior to menstruation. Depression can also peak after childbirth, even after a healthy pregnancy. Later in life, women may experience depression two-three years before menstruation ends during menopausal transition or perimenopause. Hormonal changes after menopause can also wreak havoc on a woman’s mood. Typically this is caused by severely low level of progesterone produced naturally in the body. With the right amount & application, natural progesterone cream has helped many women reduce symptoms of hormone imbalance, pre & post menopause.
According to the Society for Women’s Health Research, depression and other mood disorders can occur anytime during a woman’s life, but women may be especially vulnerable during times of hormonal fluctuation such as during the menstrual period, pregnancy and pre-menopause.
Some women move through these hormonal transition periods with ease, while others experience severe mood disorders including depression.
Treating the symptoms of depression doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are some natural methods that can be quite beneficial. Things like exercise, mind-body therapies like mindfulness and meditation and even herbal supplements can help affect your outlook and even boost your mood.
Depression can have a devastating impact on your life. When you feel depressed, you often feel helpless. Depression can be caused by a wide variety of factors and is often accompanied by a complex range of symptoms.
From postpartum depression brought on by hormonal changes to menopause and perimenopause, depression is something that must be taken very seriously. Depression can impact your motivation, your confidence, and even your state of mind.
Many things including genetic factors, toxins, metabolism or even immunological factors, can also cause depression.
What Causes Depression?
Science is beginning to understand why these changes may occur in some women, according to Peter Schmidt, M.D., an investigator in the National Institute of Mental Health’s Reproductive Endocrine Studies Unit, “but further research is needed to definitively show what causes depression and mood disorders in women during hormonal transitions.”
It is estimated that 8-15% of women going through menopause experience some kind of depression and this often begins in perimenopause. Several hormones play a role in depression in women. Some of these include estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol.
According to BodyLogicMD, estrogen helps boost serotonin which helps fight depression while also increasing GABA, a calming neurotransmitter. Low estrogen levels are often found in menopause, which can exacerbate feelings of sadness.
Progesterone helps balance estrogen, promoting sleep and normalizing libido. Cortisol, a stress hormone, can also cause depression as well as insomnia, belly fat and sugar cravings.
As a woman ages, the body produces less estrogen and less progesterone.
Other hormones also drop off including thyroid hormones, growth hormones, testosterone, the adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and adrenocorticotropic hormone or ACHT according to Arthur W. Perry, MD.
All of this combined can play a part in the onset of depression as a woman ages.
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. Hormonal imbalances can cause depression, so you may notice symptoms getting worse with age. Depression is a very serious matter, and it is often difficult to break out of the cycle once you enter into it.
If you have five or more of the following symptoms for at least a two-week period straight you may have depression.
- Persistent sadness or pessimism.
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness.
- Loss of interest in daily activities.
- Poor concentration or memory.
- Worsening symptoms of a co-existing disease.
- Insomnia or oversleeping.
- Weight loss or gain.
- Headache or digestive problems.
- Thoughts of suicide or death.
- Slow speech or movements.
- Agitation or irritability.
If you suffer from depression there are some natural supplements and lifestyle changes you can consider.
- Bach Flower Essences – Mustard
Bach Flower Remedies are powerful yet gentle healing tools that can help you resolve emotional imbalances. Dr. Edward Bach who lived from 1886-1936 was the founder of Bach Flower Remedies. He was a medical doctor, bacteriologist, and a homeopath.
Bach believed that by using this simple system that one was:
“Flooding the personality with the virtues of the flowers.”
Bach truly believed that by using the essences of flowers, that one could restore those innate positive qualities and, as a result of that, change the way one experienced and moved through life.
The Bach Flower Essence Mustard is designed to dispel gloom and bring joy back into your life. When you use this essence you will have the feeling of waking from a dark, heavy dream – in which the darkness rolls away.
Vibrational healing is based on the concept that all life maintains its health and wellness by a universal never-ending energy source. Negative thoughts and destructive emotions create blockages of this flow of energy that can lead to emotional and physical imbalances.
Edward Bach believed that each of us comes into life with the intention of experiencing and expressing this vibrational energy through the fulfillment of joyfully fulfilling our potential.
- Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery can also have a positive impact on the mood. While relaxation techniques may not be as effective as psychological treatment, they are more effective than no treatment at all when it comes to reducing symptoms so they make an excellent complementary therapy.
Exercise can also be a wonderful mood booster because when you exercise your brain releases powerful chemicals known as endorphins. According to one study done at Duke University, a mere 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise three times a week was as effective as antidepressant medication. While this may offer short-term relief, the study also found that depression was less likely to return after the initial time period. Yoga is another wonderful mind-body exercise that can help with depression and anxiety as well.
Meditation, a form of relaxation that can help you clear and focus the mind, can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. A daily meditation practice is a wonderful way to clear out the cobwebs of the mind helping you cope better when stress does occur.
Meditation like psychotherapy has many therapeutic benefits including behavioral, physiological and even cognitive changes. Western medicine and psychotherapy often focus on intense analysis and investigation and psychotherapy can be a very long and exhausting process, sometimes taking years. Meditation, on the other hand, helps you develop greater concentration, tranquility and a sense of connectedness in a rather short period of time and it can be very beneficial for symptoms of depression.
One-Minute Meditation Practice
Begin by setting a timer for one minute. Sit in a comfortable position and begin breathing deeply in and out. Notice how the breath feels as it moves in and out of the body. Notice how the air feels on your skin. Pay attention to any sensations that you notice or any sounds that you hear.
Take another slow deep breath and see if you can imagine how the breath moves down into the lungs and then back up again. Thank your body and breath for giving you life and keeping you healthy.
Take one more deep breath and hold the breath for a moment – then release it.
If thoughts become intrusive, try and imagine your thoughts immersed in a white, puffy cloud and push the thought cloud out of your awareness.
Afterward, notice how you feel after taking this one-minute break.
Mindfulness practices help train you to focus your attention on the moment. This helps to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and openness and acceptance, which can have antidepressant effects. Life can be very stressful if you allow it to you. Toxic emotions and negative energy are everywhere. Being mindful can help you in many ways and the benefits of practicing mindfulness are very similar to the benefits of meditation.
Mindfulness can help:
- Reduce stress and anxiety.
- Decrease muscle tension.
- Enhance energy.
- Improve memory.
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Relieve headaches.
- Increase focus and concentration.
- Improve resilience and confidence.
- Increase empathy.
- Improve your general well-being and peace of mind.
- Releases endorphins your brain’s natural feel-good chemical.
Being mindful can help you become more aware of your surroundings helping you relate to other people in a healthier manner.
- Deep Breathing
Breathing exercises can help you energize your whole being, helping you release negative energy, even helping you increase your levels of concentration.
When you get stressed or anxious or nervous, you tend to hold your breath or breathe shallower, when in actuality the opposite would create an enormous amount of relief.
Breathing influences both your physiology and your thought processes, including your moods. By simply taking the time to focus your attention on your breathing, you can move into a space of peace and relaxation. Deep breathing for stress and anxiety can help you in many ways, and the techniques are simple to use.
When you can get into the habit of shifting your awareness to your breathing whenever you find yourself feeling anxious, you can eliminate stress and anxiety before it becomes something much worse.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a great way to cleanse your body of toxins and stress. The technique involves breathing in for the count of four, holding the breath to the count of seven and slowly releasing the breath to the count of eight.
Breathing deeply like this will help cleanse your nervous system and it is a wonderful technique to practice several times a day or whenever you feel the need.
- John’s wort
Herbs like St. John’s wort can be helpful as well when it comes to alleviating symptoms of depression. While American physicians are more divided when it comes to its usefulness, St. John’s wort is a popular depression treatment in Europe.
According to the National Center forComplementarya nd Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), St. John’s wort may not be as effective when treating major depression but it can benefit people with mild-to-moderate forms.
Always consult your physician when taking herbs, because some herbs like St. John’s wort can have serious interactions with medications, herbs, and supplements.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids or healthy fats found in foods like salmon, trout, and sardines might also be helpful for those fighting depression. Fish oil capsules also provide Omega-3’s. According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers discovered that those with low levels of two brain chemicals found in fish oil supplements might be at an increased risk of depression. In addition to fish oil supplements, increasing the amount of fish you eat can help you fight depression naturally.
There are many holistic treatments that can be useful for those fighting depression so the next time you feel depressed, try some of these techniques and see how your body and mind respond.
Leslie Riopel is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Health and Wellness subject matter expert and authority in the psychology of mindfulness. Leslie has a Master of Arts in Psychology Health and Wellness and she has written hundreds of mindfulness and meditation scripts for clients all over the world in in addition to her work in the Personal Development genre.