Wednesday 20 December 2023

Marla Ahlgrimm | Hormones And Mental Health

Marla Ahlgrimm

There’s one question that many women often have but are afraid to ask: are hormones and mental health related? The answer, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, is yes. 
Hormones and mental health are as closely related as any two things within the human body. Because hormones are the chemical messengers that tell the body how to function, they greatly impact a woman’s emotional state. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that hormones control everything from stress to appetite to sleep and mood. When hormones aren’t balanced, mental health suffers. 

Here are a few examples of how hormones can affect women’s mental health: 
  • Cortisol. Marla Ahlgrimm says that cortisol – the stress hormone – needs no introduction. However, she says that chronically high levels of this hormone can lead to everything from insomnia and anxiety to depression and feelings of hopelessness. 
  • Neurotransmitters. Norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine are all neurotransmitters that play a critical role in mood regulation. Marla Ahlgrimm says they are also important for telling the brain when to perceive pleasure and motivation. Anytime neurotransmitters are out of whack, women may feel depressed, anxious, and overall down in the dumps. 
  • Sex hormones. Marla Ahlgrimm says that women have three primary sex hormones. These are progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. Each plays a part in regulating sexual function, energy, and mood. These hormones fluctuate significantly many times throughout a woman’s life, including during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause. Not coincidentally, these are also the times in a woman’s life when she might experience the most mental health concerns. 
  • Thyroid hormones. The thyroid glands produce hormones that regulate body temperature, mood, and metabolism. Hypothyroidism, which Marla Ahlgrimm explains is simply an underactive thyroid, can leave women feeling distracted, depressed, and fatigued. Similarly, hyperthyroidism can trigger anxiety, insomnia, and irritability. 
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, the relationship between mood and hormones is more akin to a delicate dance. When one steps out of place, the other may tumble and fall. A few things Marla Ahlgrimm says that women can do to keep the hormones in balance include: 
  • Getting plenty of sleep. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that sleep is when the body repairs and it’s also when certain hormones are produced. She says that women should try for a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. 
  • Reducing stress. While we can’t always avoid stress and stressful situations, Marla Ahlgrimm says there are things that women can do to reduce external stress factors. This includes staying away from negative people, learning how to best manage their budgets, and allowing a spouse or partner to handle the kids sometimes. 
  • Marla Ahlgrimm
    Visiting a specialist. Women with significant hormone problems may wish to visit an endocrinologist or other physician with experience in hormone balance disorders. Women who suffer significant trauma or chronic stress may also wish to seek the services of a qualified therapist to help them manage their mood, which can help them manage their hormones.
Ultimately, hormones will always influence mental health. Marla Ahlgrimm recommends that women pay attention to their overall health to best get ahead of issues that may negatively affect hormones.


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