Can a Hormone Imbalance Cause Depression?

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Yes, a hormone imbalance can cause depression and other mental health disorders. There are many underlying causes of hormonal changes and different ways depression can present. Despite this, it is possible to find relief.

Hormones are chemical messengers produced in your body’s endocrine system, which regulate various bodily processes, including metabolism, sleep, and mood. Your hormones might get out of balance for many reasons.

It’s essential to be aware of the symptoms of depression, prevent the root causes, and seek help if you suspect your hormones are imbalanced.

If you are dealing with hormone imbalance symptoms like depression, schedule an appointment with PrimeHealth today! Our diverse team of highly trained medical professionals has years of experience treating women’s health issues.

Hormone Imbalance & Mental Health

Hormone changes are closely linked with mental health conditions, such as depression, postpartum depression, anxiety disorders, and mood swings.

Hormone changes are natural and common; all humans experience hormone changes throughout their lives. Women, however, are at a higher risk of hormone fluctuation. Then it makes sense that 1 in 5 women experience a depressive episode in their lifetime, often due to natural hormonal changes.

Depression can take many forms. Symptoms of depression include sadness, lack of motivation, sleep issues, isolation, drug or alcohol misuse, or even suicidal ideation. It’s important to seek help for depression: check out SAMHSA’s national helpline or call 911 if anyone is in immediate danger.

Hormone Imbalance Associated With Depression

The following hormones are associated with depression symptoms:

  • Estrogen — This well-known sex hormone promotes female physical characteristics and regulates mood by influencing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Irregular estrogen levels can cause depression symptoms.
  • Progesterone — This sex hormone regulates menstruation and pregnancy. An imbalance of progesterone may result in anxiety, mood swings, and depressed mood.
  • Testosterone — Although also found in women, this hormone is responsible for many male physical characteristics and sex drive. Low testosterone levels lead to symptoms of depression and low libido.
  • T3 & T4 — These thyroid hormones regulate many bodily functions, including metabolism. An underactive thyroid doesn’t produce enough T3 and T4, which may cause depression. An overactive Thyroid may present symptoms of anxiety. 
  • Cortisol — This is a primary stress hormone. Excess cortisol, due to constant stress, can lead to weight gain, depression, and burnout.
  • DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) — This adrenal gland hormone reduces brain inflammation and helps regulate depression. An imbalance may cause depressive symptoms to set in.
  • Insulin — This hormone is closely associated with blood sugar and type 2 diabetes. Insulin dysfunction has been linked with depression.

Of course, humans experience natural changes in hormone levels all the time. Puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and particularly stressful times in one’s life all result in hormonal changes.

Common Causes of Hormone Dysregulation – Hormone Imbalance

Below are the most common causes and risk factors of hormone dysregulation, which can lead to depression and other mental health issues:

  • Puberty
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Unhealthy diet (inflammatory seed oils, sugar, processed foods)
  • Not enough exercise
  • Estrogen mimickers in our environment such as herbicides, BPA, and heated plastics
  • Chronic stress
  • Thyroid dysfunction (often hypothyroidism, sometimes hyperthyroidism)
  • Low levels of testosterone
  • Postpartum thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland after giving birth)
  • Pregnancy
  • Inaccurate dosing of medication, especially hormone replacement therapy
  • MTHFR gene mutation
  • Menopause and perimenopause

Signs & Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

It’s essential to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of hormone imbalance, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Brain fog
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Cold intolerance
  • Heat intolerance
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Early menopause
  • More pronounced premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Infertility

Treatment Options to Balance Hormone Levels

There is hope. Many science-backed treatment options can assist in restoring balance to hormones, mood, and depression.

Under the supervision of a healthcare provider, these treatments might include medication, dietary supplements to balance your hormones, or changes to your diet and lifestyle to support a healthy endocrine system.


There are a few prescription medications that may help with hormone imbalance and hormone-caused depression:

  • Antidepressants: Your healthcare provider may prescribe antidepressants to treat depression. However, you still want to treat the root cause, not just the symptoms. And be aware of the potential side effects, such as suicidal ideation.
  • Hormone replacement therapy: HRT is a common option for treating hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and mood swings related to women’s hormone changes during perimenopause or postmenopause.
  • Estrogen & progesterone: These hormones can be prescribed as medication, individually or together, to help regulate mood and stave off depression symptoms. A low-dose birth control pill containing both these hormones may improve mental health.
  • Levothyroxine: This popular thyroid medication replaces the thyroid hormones your body needs to regulate metabolism and other bodily functions for individuals with an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism.
  • Methimazole: This medication slows or blocks the release of thyroid hormone in cases of overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. Methimazole should decrease irregular heartbeat, insomnia, and anxiety caused by too much thyroid hormone.
  • Metformin: This medication helps to sensitize the body to insulin, primarily for type 2 diabetes patients. Metformin may stabilize your blood glucose levels and mental health if you have elevated blood sugar.


Several dietary supplements may improve hormone regulation and decrease the risk of depression:

  • Chasteberry: This tree root extract has long been used to help regulate hormone levels, particularly in women. Studies have even linked chasteberry to reductions in depressive symptoms.
  • Inositol: This sugar occurs naturally in citrus and legumes. It may improve symptoms of hormone imbalance and hormonal depression.
  • Magnesium: This essential mineral helps women during menopause to help balance hormone levels.
  • Probiotics: These good bacteria boast many health benefits to your gut, brain, and body, including hormone regulation.
  • DHEA: Anabolic precurser to sex hormones that have been shown to help with mood
  • Lemon Balm: An herb that has qualities that help with anxiety and calm an overactive Thyroid
  • Ashwagandha: An adaptogenic herb that helps to reduce cortisol while helping to support thyroid function.
  • Siberian Ginseng: An adaptogen that helps to reduce burnout and is shown to increase testosterone levels. 

Diet & Lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle changes can massively impact hormonal balance and overall well-being. Try the recommendations listed below to decrease your risk of hormonal imbalance and depression:

  • Healthy diet: Limit sugar and sodium intake, and avoid refined and processed carbohydrates. Make sure you consume a good amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Drink plenty of water.
  • Stress reduction: As with most health conditions, stress reduction techniques can treat hormone imbalance and depression. The best stress-reducing methods include meditation, healthy sleep habits, and spending time outdoors.
  • Exercise: Exercising regularly is vital to your physical and mental health. It is a great way to maintain healthy body weight and helps regulate hormone levels and mood.

When to Ask For Help with Hormone Imbalance

If you’re feeling depressed, ask for help. Reach out to a friend or family member who can help you feel heard and supported. Healthcare professionals can also help — medical treatment is also often necessary.

If you ever feel like your medication or a supplement is worsening your depression symptoms, seek help immediately. Your treatment plan may require an adjustment.

If you want a science-based integrative approach to your unique medical condition, schedule an appointment with PrimeHealth today. We offer free phone consultations to new patients. 

Call us at 303-335-9092.


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