From puberty to menopause, women have shifting levels of hormones but it’s only in fairly recent times that researchers have discovered links between these fluctuating hormones and our range of emotion.
Oestrogen secretion can have direct effects on neurochemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, both of which are implicated in the development of major depression and psychosis.
For others still, the time before each period can be a hurricane of emotion that leaves them exhausted, confused, and often with a wake of emotional wreckage behind them. These women may be suffering from
Many women experience perinatal mental health issues. In Austalia, 15-20% of new mums experience post-partum depression.
The perinatal period refers to the period of time during pregnancy and for up to 12 months after the baby’s birth.
As you can imagine, hormonal changes are significant at this time as a woman’s body maintains pregnancy, experiences childbirth, and readjusts to the post-partum period, regardless of breastfeeding or not.
During the perinatal period, a range of mental health conditions may arise including major depression, anxiety, or psychosis.
The difficulty in identifying perinatal conditions is in recognising when the normal irritability, low mood, or insomnia that accompanies pregnancy and the post-natal period is deemed to be pathological.
We would say that a woman’s symptoms need assessment when they impair her function or cause her or her family significant distress.
Successful treatment of these conditions is important not only for the mother’s
If you’re lucky enough not to experience premenstrual or perinatal symptoms, don’t think you’re out of the woods yet, because here comes menopause!
The perimenopausal period is that time in life when a woman’s periods are tapering off to a point when there will be no further periods at all.
There can be rapid changes in oestrogen and progesterone levels. Perimenopausal depression and anxiety can occur in women with no previous history of mood disorder and is a confusing condition for women and their families to endure.
Thankfully, women who experience mental health symptoms due to hormonal changes no longer need to suffer. There
Treatment is commonly a combination of hormonal manipulation therapy (the oral contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy) with psychiatric
The truth is women do not have to suffer in silence or expect these changes to be a normal, expected part of their lives.
It is important to visit your general practitioner if you are experiencing any significant mood change around the typical time of hormonal changes, even if you are already using the oral contraceptive pill. Your mental health matters.
Dr Martin is a consultant psychiatrist with a sub-speciality interest in geriatric psychiatry. Dr Martin works in the private sector, providing mental health care to both younger and older adults. She also provides psychiatric care to residents at a number of Brisbane nursing homes.