Humans are very emotional creatures. We are ruled by different sets of emotions such as joy, pain, sorrow, anxiety, and love. However, when it comes to emotions, women always come first in mind.
Women undergo a rollercoaster of emotions more frequently than men. It leads them and their emotions as the most common targets of jokes – like always.
So, how can we brave our rain of emotions? An awareness of our feelings – what they are, what triggers them, and why they happen – can help us manage them.
We cannot manage what we do not know, right? In this post are the basic facts every woman needs to know about emotional hormones.
How are emotions and hormones related?
In general, hormones affect every bodily function in humans and keep our bodies working optimally. They play significant roles in almost all of the biological processes in humans such as sexual function, growth and development, metabolism, weight, immune function, food cravings, and emotions.
All throughout a woman’s life, her hormone levels constantly change and affect her brain chemistry, thus, her moods and emotions.
What are the hormones associated with moods and emotions?
Hormones are minute but very powerful molecules inside the body. Estrogen and progesterone belong to the steroid hormone group that is also considered as potent chemical signals that significantly affects the brain.
As the main female sex hormone, estrogen is known for its roles in the sexual function and development of female characteristics. However, estrogen is also known as a neurostimulant that possess anti-depressive effects.
A hormone imbalance in the form of very high estrogen levels often leads to tension, anxiety, and panic attacks while low estrogen levels may lead to depression.
To avoid the adverse effects of estrogen to a woman’s mood and emotions, estrogen levels must be maintained at a normal level.
Progesterone is known as a woman’s secondary sex hormone. It needs to maintain balance with estrogen to avoid mood problems or disorders.
Progesterone receptors are situated in the limbic areas of the brain that is dubbed as the “area of rage and violence” by some physiologists. This hormone produces a calming effect on the brain.
When a woman’s progesterone levels are low, she may manifest different levels of anxiety.
Significant changes in the above hormones can impact certain neurotransmitters that affect moods and emotions, such as serotonin and dopamine.
Dopamine is dubbed as the “pleasure hormone”. Dopamine levels get high when a person is up for achieving a goal and is nearing the reward. It fuels the motivation to reach a specific goal and provides the feeling of pleasure after the reward.
Serotonin boosts the mood and encourages positivity making people happier and more sociable. High serotonin levels lead to a positive disposition and the capability to manage daily stress. However, serotonin deficiency may lead to irritability, anxiety, and depression.
What are the factors that affect our emotions?
Throughout a woman’s lifecycle, her hormone levels can be affected by a variety of factors which include:
During puberty, young girls are observed to be more anxious and moody. These moods result from the hormonal changes they experience when they start to menstruate. It also leads to irritability, sleeping troubles, and poor focus and concentration.
Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS
PMS or premenstrual syndrome has always been the subject of jokes every time a woman undergoes mood swings and emotional instability. During PMS, a woman experiences a terrible combination of intense fatigue, depression, overemotional, and irritability.
PMS results from multiple biochemical and hormonal fluctuations that directly affects a woman’s emotions.
According to research, one out of three women who takes birth control pills undergoes depression. The biochemistry of the brain gets affected by the hormones in the birth control pills, leading to a variety of effects on a woman’s emotions.
Undoubtedly, most of the pregnant women become moody, irritable, and emotionally unstable during their pregnancy. It is because the levels of estrogen and progesterone undergo a rapid increase that greatly affects mood stability.
In fact, 1 out of 10 pregnant women suffers from either anxiety or depression during their pregnancy.
Vulnerable women are usually the ones who experience postnatal depression or “baby blues”. During this phenomenon, a woman may encounter sleeping difficulties, weight gain, exhaustion, unstable moods, irritability, and when worse comes to worst – suicidal tendencies.
A significant drop in the levels of progesterone is observed in a woman suffering from postnatal depression. Low levels of progesterone lead to estrogen dominance that causes many unpleasant symptoms.
Mood swings and emotional instability are common symptoms a woman encounters all throughout the menopausal transition – perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.
During the menopausal transition, an overproduction and underproduction of female hormones happen. Hormone imbalances can lead to undesirable symptoms including emotional instability. At this stage,bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may be considered.
Moods and emotions can also be affected by other factors such as stress, poor sleep, unhealthy diet, lifestyle, environment, hormone imbalances, and clinical depression.
During the rain, it’s either you bring an umbrella or dance in the rain. However, you have to have knowledge and awareness of the rain that is to come. The same with emotions, it’s either you shield yourself from them or you dance and take charge of your emotions.
Take note of the basics and be the manager of your emotions!
Sanford Harvey is a researcher and writer at Genemedics Health Institute, a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy clinic in the different states of USA consisting of highly trained hormone specialists.