Oceanside Family Therapy - & Assessments
The Female Brain
 
For the past several decades, the traditional medical community has by and large ignored, misdiagnosed and mistreated millions of women and men suffering from symptoms of hormone imbalance such as weight gain, low sex drive, fatigue, hot flashes, foggy thinking and depression.

Symptoms noticed in cases where hormone function may influence the female brain—include; mood changes, depression, worries, anxiety, irritability, decreased ability to focus and concentrate, decreased energy, anxiety, libido and well-being.

Examples of the types of cases we treat include (but are not limited to):

  • premenstrual mood changes, teenagers, young women and beyond
  •  menopausal and peri-menopausal symptoms such as mood swings, depression, sleeping difficulties, hot flashes, irritability, fatigue and memory problems
  • problems with sexual functioning, low desire and libido
  • mood changes during pregnancy and after giving birth or postpartum depression and post-breastfeeding side effects of medications
  • depression, moods, stress syndromes, bulimia, trouble thinking, trauma, nervousness, upset, and anxiety

We also treat teen girls and women with general complaints related to mood, anxiety, sleep and libido--whether or not hormone involvement is suspected as the cause. For example, women with depression, general mood swings, anxiety symptoms and sexual complaints are also seen at this office.

Please keep in mind that we specialize in the mental health aspects of hormones on the female brain.  If you are seeking medical assistance regarding endocrine diseases, please consult an endocrinologist or hormone replacement specialist.

Moods and Irritability

Estrogen and progesterone play key roles in the regulation of moods, feelings of well-being and mental functioning. 

When progesterone levels first begin to fall and a young woman becomes estrogen dominant, her emotions and mental acuity suffer. 

For most women, the first signs of estrogen dominance are:

  • irritability

  • moodiness

  • depression

  • intensified PMS

  • low libido

  • abdominal weight gain

  • decreased energy

  • and foggy thinking

Often younger women and their physicians do not think about hormones as influencing their symptoms, usually the symptoms are attributed to a diagnosis of anxiety or depression.  Even gynecologists are more likely to diagnose a mood or anxiety disorder, making them the number one prescriber of anti-depressants in this country today.

Background on female hormones

Peri-menopause, or menopause transition, is the stage of a woman's reproductive life that begins several years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman's 40s, but can start in a woman's 30s or even earlier.

As a woman moves into peri-menopause, her ovaries’ production of estrogen starts to sputter meaning that sometimes her body will not produce enough estrogen to foster a menstrual cycle.  Periods become irregular.  Even though estrogen levels are ebbing and flowing irregularly, progesterone levels are slowing to almost nil so the condition of estrogen dominance continues to get much worse causing symptoms of moodiness/depression/irritability to also increase. 

Another thing that happens during peri-menopause is that a lot of women start having hot flashes and night sweats which interferes with a good night’s sleep.  Lack of sleep is a double-negative whammy on moods.   And the ebb and flow of estrogen can increase a condition of depression because estrogen acts as a substantial multiplier of serotonin function by increasing the responsiveness of serotonin receptors. 

Testosterone is the third hormone having an effect of emotions and moods.  Testosterone is associated with feelings of wellbeing, energy and an overall positive outlook and enthusiasm for life.  When testosterone levels begin to decline, or testosterone circulation is compromised by increased levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) associated with estrogen dominance, emotional well being usually suffers.
 

If you believe that you are suffering from any of the above mentioned symptoms, contact our office for a comprehensive mental health evaluation consultation.

Nicole Story, Ed.S, M.Ed, LMHC, LMFT is a Florida licensed psychotherapist with specialties in Mental Health and Marriage and Family Therapy.


Client Resources

From Hormone Hell to Hormone Well, C.W. Randolph, Jr., M.D., and Genie James.

In The Mood Again, Genie James and C.W. Randolph, Jr., M.D.

The Female Brain, Dr. Louann Brizendine, Crown Publishing Group, 2007


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