Hormonal havoc cause of major depression?

by Kathryn
(Australia)

Hello all,
I've only recently looked at my hormonal status as being the fundamental cause for my depression; toxicity and vitamin/mineral imbalances are all addressed, so when my depression sustained, another reason was to be revealed. I have been approaching my mental health issues with not only nutritional therapy, but (in recent weeks) homoeopathics. I have not yet started using the cream, but I'm keen to hear of others' experiences with the cream eleviating depression. I was on an antidepressant for 5 years (post natal depressive episode in 2005) but slowly weaned, after thinking I had addressed all possible reasons for my depression. Not so! Major relapse, unfortuantely. I think it's important for me to say that the antidepressant made my depression SO much worse before it made any improvement. However, it DID improve my mood after months of slowly upping the dose. I hadn't felt that great in years! Can anyone explain to me how antidepressants effect a hormonal imbalance? I have trouble understanding this . . . . natural amino acids such as Tryptohan and 5-HTP don't lift my mood. Would these take time, 2 - 6 weeks before having an effect?

I never wanted to be on an antidepressant. I appreciate it is a 'band-aid' to something underlying. It has been revealed that I have an issue (not sure what) with my left ovary, and this is hampering the effectiveness of my homoeopathic (hormone balancing) remedy. I have since been given another remedy to address this -- early days. I'm considering using the cream to get things back in balance. Any thoughts, stories or ideas to share, please?

One last thing -- in September 2008 I had an internal ultrasound, as I was concerned about my painful ovulation. The report states: "some small echogenic foci are noted in relation to the myometrium this could be due to very small fibroids. The largest is only 3mm in diameter. The right ovarian volume is 5.1ml and the left 3.8ml. 17 follicles are seen on the right with 18 on the left. The appearances raise the possibility of polycystic change." My Doc. wasn't concerned by any of this, but obviously, there is something there? I think I'll have another ultrasound soon; see what changes, if any, have occured over the last 2 years.

For some background, I'm 37 years old, have 3 children (one miscarriage) and have never had any problem conceiving. My periods started around 16, prior to this, I suffered horrible migraines starting around the age of 9. My periods were few and far between until I went on the Pill around 19 years of age. I was on/off the Pill for a while, and stopped around 2000; not long before I fell pregnant with my first child. My first major depressive episode was in 1998. Breastfeeding stops my menstruation for a good 2 years (long term b'fed babes!) but when my period returns, it is on a normal 28 day cycle, with painful ovulation NOT menstruation. I have never diarised my moods; some days/times/moments are just much harder than others. My depression is not reactionary to external happenings. It is fairly chronic. It starts internal as a dip in mood - a feeling. Sometimes it intensifies; sometimes it does not. The negative thoughts (due to the fear of never getting better) follow.

Thanks to all who share their stories/experiences and help!

Comments for Hormonal havoc cause of major depression?

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Apr 05, 2011
Reply
by: Anonymous

Hey i really feel your frustration ! I was in the pill for a while and became so depressed It hurt to live! I had been like this for a long time even after stopping syntethic hormones. It around 6 months since i started the cream now. It got so much harder in the beginning , but slowly and surely I got my life back! I'm so glad I kept going cos there were so many times I just wanted to quit the cream and die. Oh am I grateful for that now. I can still sometimes get a little moody before periods but it's only getting better for each Month. I would really recommend this to you !! I'm so much more happy now and I know it'll only get better from here. I also drank a lot of water and took vitamin d. Good luck honey !!!!!

Apr 12, 2011
Reply
by: Wray

Hi there I'm so pleased you persevered with the progesterone, it can take some doing, as Oestrogen Dominance can be severe. I can only guess you were not using enough progesterone for it to take so long. I recommend 100-200mg/day, for more info please see our page on How to use progesterone cream. The more progesterone used the quicker this phase passes. If you still feel moody before your period please increase the amount you're using. The problems encountered the few days prior to our period starting are caused by the ratio of the two hormones becoming skewed. From Saliva Tests we run, we've found the progesterone to oestrogen ratio should be 600:1 and over to feel well. I'm pleased you're taking vitamin D, please make sure it's sufficient. The minimum dose should be 5000iu's per day. Take care Wray


Apr 12, 2011
Hormonal havoc cause of major depression?
by: Wray

Hi Kathryn Going back to 9 years old, the migraines indicate a lack of progesterone. Puberty can be compared to peri-menopause. I had depression during both phases, in both cases there's a lack of progesterone. It can be months if not years before we start ovulating as a child/teenager. The excess oestrogen we produce in both phases causes the adverse symptoms. Progesterone is effective against migraines, see here, here, here, here and here. Progesterone drops sharply after birth, sending 25% of women into depression, from the baby blues to post natal psychosis. I had PND for 4 years after having my daughter. Depending on the severity of the depression, the amount of progesterone needed varies. Dr Dalton using up to 2400mg/day for her patients with PNP, see here.
Serotonin also drops sharply after birth, progesterone increases serotonin levels. And of course anti-depressants raise serotonin levels, hence the help they eventually gave you. Did you use enough tryptophan, I've found doses often have to be 6000mg/day to have any effect against major depression. It's also essential to take it with a small amount of carbohydrate, as it needs an insulin spike to get into the brain. Plus the co-factor vitamins folic acid and B6 are essential too. For more info see our page on Anxiety It could be your dopamine was too low, this also causes depression. Low GABA causes anxiety. Progesterone interacts positively with these too. Painful ovulation occurs regularly in 20% of women, it's normally given the name of Mittelschmerz, see here and here. Progesterone and it's metabolite allopregnanolone, are excellent analgesics, rubbing a progesterone cream over the painful spot should help. I'm running out of space so will start a new comment below. Take care Wray

Apr 12, 2011
Hormonal havoc cause of major depression?
by: Wray

Hi again Kathryn All Contraceptives can have adverse side effects, particularly as they suppress progesterone production by suppressing ovulation. It could be your depression in 1998 was exacerbated, if not caused by them. But I would have to know more about other factors which occurred at the time, ie emotional or physical stress. It would be helpful to diarise your moods, as they are often worse during the luteal phase if insufficient progesterone is made. Becoming particularly bad the few days prior to bleeding, when the progesterone to oestrogen ratio becomes skewed. See our page on How to use progesterone cream. From the age of about 35 we begin getting anovulatory cycles, these increase through Peri-menopause, which can be a very difficult time with dropping progesterone levels. So the ratio becomes skewed again. But oestrogen doesn't drop until Menopause, when the ovaries cease making viable eggs. The follicular changes seen in your ovaries could be due to a lack of vitamin D, this is a potent anti-oxidant and is essential to ovulation and ovary health. As you live in Australia, with their policy of covering up when in the sun, your vitamin D is probably low. Please have a test done, for more info see the Vitamin D council and GrassrootsHealth websites. Plus these papers here and here. A lack of vitamin D causes too many of our problems, all described on the sites I've given above. Plus a lack reduces the benefits of progesterone. If you should consider using it, please use sufficient, too little leads to Oestrogen Dominance, which can also occur when first using progesterone. I recommend 100-200mg/day, dependant on symptoms. Take care Wray

Apr 15, 2011
Further discussion . . . .
by: Kathryn

Thanks for the information and comments. Wray, I (at last!) read your story and there is certainly a lot of similarities to mine!

In brief, I did go up to 600mg 5-HTP (equivalent to 6 g tryptophan) and it not only didn't help my depression, but made me all the more fatigued. I think you are right; dopamine (Tyrosine for depression) and GABA (for anxiety) are where my insufficiencies lie. I am tinkering ever so slowly with these, as I appreciate too much can bring on the very symptoms we are trying to eliminate. There was a diffinitive drop in mood during last month's cycle; this month was all over the place due to a homoeopathic rememedy making it all the more worse for me. I have since stopped it; the upheaval was too much for me to bare.

Going back to mood and cycle, is the 2 week drop in mood in relation to the oluvation cycle a given? Could I still have low progesterone with a sustaining depression? This seems to be the only symptom of mine that doesn't reflect 'text book' progesterone deficiency. I am grasping at straws, but I have addressed all other possibilities for this depression, and correcting my hormonal status seems to be my last hope.

May 04, 2011
Further discussion . . . .
by: Wray

Hi Kathryn If your story is similar to mine, then I know how you feel! I've found 5-HTP doesn't work as well as tryptophan. I've no idea why, but it could be that tryp is also converted into vitamin B3, which also helps depression. I prefer working with the original substance, be it hormones or aminos, rather than an end product. One woman I helped found the tryp took 6 months before she found relief. Some might find that too long! You are so right about taking too much tyrosine and GABA, symptoms do come back. So it's always best to increase them slowly. I'm trying to understand your '2 week drop in mood', you don't mention this occurring in your previous posts. Do you mean your mood drops from ovulation? If this is the case, it indicates your progesterone is too low. Either due to anovulation or a defective corpus luteum. Oestrogen also rises during the luteal phase, if there's insufficient progesterone to counter this, all hell can break loose. So yes, low progesterone and depression go hand in hand. I could also say high oestrogen and depression go hand in hand. How much you will need is impossible to tell. It's safety is without question, over 1200mg/day is given via IV transfusion to brain trauma victims. I also mentioned Dr Dalton giving up to 2400mg/day for her patients with severe post natal psychosis. Judging by the PND you had and the ongoing depression, it's a pity you weren't given the same amount of progesterone, instead of the antidepressants. If you do decide to use the progesterone, you will have to experiment, I wish I could help with the amount you need, but I can't. But whatever you do, please use enough, a low amount will merely worsen things. Please read the page on oestrogen dominance before you start, as the initial increase in oestrogen can make matters worse for a bit. If this does occur please increase the amount of progesterone. It might be an idea to have a saliva test done on your hormone levels. We've found from Saliva Tests we run, that the progesterone to oestrogen ratio should be 600:1 and over to feel well. One final thing, it might be an idea to get your calcium and magnesium ratios checked too. High Ca and low Mg can cause depression, see here. Take care Wray

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