On World Mental Health Day we want to draw your attention to the critical role that your hormones play in your mental health.

The hormonal changes we experience during the perimenopause and menopause can have a profound effect on our mental health, with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and loss of self-esteem and confidence being extremely common. Women commonly describe losing their sense of self and this can have a significant impact on their relationships both at work and at home.

Fluctuations in hormone levels including oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone can have a direct effect on our mood. In particular, progesterone is an anti-anxiety hormone that is important for sleep, whilst testosterone is known to elevate the mood and boost stamina. We must also not underestimate the effects that changes in body shape, fertility and the quality of sleep can have on our mood and self-esteem.

Regulating hormone levels during this time with hormone replacement therapy is a very effective way to tackle the mental health issues associated with this time in a woman’s life and can be far more effective than traditional antidepressant medications. Lifestyle interventions such as exercise, dietary changes, and reducing alcohol intake are also very important.

Above all it is important to remember you are not alone and there is help available either via your GP, a specialist hormone clinic, or via support charities such as the Samaritans.