By James Porcelli, M.D. –
To better understand the role that hormones play in your mental health, you must first learn a little background information. The endocrine system is a complex network of glands, organs that produce chemicals called hormones. Hormones deliver messages to various other organs to help regulate functions such as heart rate, digestion and sexual reproduction. A number of symptoms can result when hormone levels are abnormally high or low. Oftentimes these symptoms can present as mental or emotional disturbances.
The thyroid gland secretes hormones called thyroxine and triiodothyronine, or T4 and T3. These hormones are vital to the body’s ability to regulate the rate at which it burns energy.
An over-production of thyroid hormones, known as hyperthyroidism, accelerates the rate of metabolism. This effect can be compared to pushing up the setting on the body’s thermostat–more fuel is burned, the heart rate increases and heat becomes intolerable to the individual with hyperthyroidism. This may also result in feelings of nervousness, irritability and anxiety.
High levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol can leave a person feeling stressed. Prolonged periods of elevated cortisol levels will generally induce fatigue and anxiety as well.
Hormonal fluctuations associated with changes in brain chemistry are often observed in people with clinical depression. The hypothalamus and pituitary glands–parts of the limbic system of the brain–produce hormones that can influence mood. Cushing’s syndrome is a disorder that causes the adrenal glands to over-produce corticosteroid hormone. Addison’s disease also affects the adrenal glands, but results in under-production of corticosteroids. Both conditions have been associated with clinical depression.
Hormonal imbalances can result in confusion, forgetfulness and disorientation resembling dementia. Hypoglycemia is a condition wherein the levels of sugar in the blood are decreased. Sugar is the brain’s main source of fuel. Severe hypoglycemia can cause confusion and panic. Those in the throes of a severe decline in blood sugar levels suffer from the results of a depletion of the brain’s supply of sugar. This can cause mental repercussions so extreme that the individual’s behavior can be misidentified as the results of alcohol intoxication.
Bioidentical Hormones Replacement Therapy (BHRT) can help those suffering from hormonal imbalances to minimize and prevent these types of mental health problems. BHRT is beneficial for anyone with hormonal imbalances of any kind. Hormone imbalances manifest themselves as menopause, andropause (male menopause), perimenopause, PMS, infertility, ovarian cysts, breast cystic lesions, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and adrenal fatigue.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is used to re-establish hormonal balance in the body in a natural way. Bioidentical hormones follow the same metabolic pathways as the body’s own hormones.
Because they are structurally identical to the body’s natural hormones, bioidentical hormones and used for BHRT are safe and do not cause the unpleasant side effects that synthetic hormones may cause. Once your hormones are back in balance, your body is able to function properly and symptoms of hormone imbalances are eliminated.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with hormone imbalances, speak with your primary care physician or call the office of Dr. Porcelli at 239-598-9327 to learn more about the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.