Depression can affect us at any age as everything from stress to genetics can play a role. Research shows that over twenty percent of women will suffer from depression at some point in life, but they are more vulnerable during childbearing years. Many menstrual irregularities are also linked to depression. So, how does the depression affect menstrual cycle? Read on to find out.
Depression is a condition that needs no introduction or explanation, especially today when increasingly more people are suffering from stress and serious mental illness. It is a pervasive and severe mood disorder that causes feelings of hopelessness, sadness, worthlessness, helplessness, laziness, loss of appetite, low self-esteem and sleepiness. Depression is very common in women, more likely because it can also be caused by hormonal changes.
How Does The Depression Affect Menstrual Cycle?
Changes in the hormones such as progesterone and estrogen during the pre and post-menstrual phase can affect the functioning of brain chemicals and cause depression. If you are depressed during this time, you are bound to experience common signs like headache and anxiety. In addition to that, you could experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) before your menstrual cycle and this result from hormonal changes and is a sign of depression. Some women have a depression disorder known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder and this stems from hormonal changes. This is a severe type of depression.
When you are feeling chronically depressed, stressed and anxious, it might not be the best time to nurture a new life and so your body will shut down its reproductive function under these circumstances. This shut down is generally caused by the stress hormone cortisol. If cortisol levels increase in response to severe stress, an organ in your brain (hypothalamus) that is involved in regulating your reproductive system will stop sending the right signals to your ovaries. When these signals are absent, your ovulation cycle will either be delayed or stopped completely to cause absent or late periods.
Many women with depression usually experience worsening symptoms before their monthly periods. A recent study shows that about sixty-four percent of the females with major depression experience symptoms which worsen five to ten days before their monthly period. If you are experiencing worse symptoms, your depression will last for a longer time than someone whose depression symptoms didn’t change due to the onset of menstruation.
Now that you know how depression can affect menstrual cycle, you need to consult a doctor to determine what is causing your condition. The doctor is the best person to diagnose this condition. You might get antidepressants as treatment. Some health professionals also recommend therapies such as yoga for depression. Maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle will also help to lower the effects.