How Oestrogen Levels Fluctuate During Different Stages of a Woman’s Life
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Oestrogen levels, a crucial hormone in a woman’s body, is closely associated with emotional well-being. It plays a significant role in mood regulation and can influence various emotional states, including depression and anxiety.

Throughout a woman’s life, oestrogen levels undergo significant fluctuations, giving rise to different emotional experiences. In this blog article, we will explore how oestrogen levels fluctuate during various stages of a woman’s life and the impact on emotions.

Oestrogen Levels: What’s Normal?

At the onset of puberty, a woman’s ovaries start releasing oestrogen in sync with her monthly menstrual cycle. During mid-cycle, oestrogen levels experience a sudden spike, leading to ovulation. Subsequently, the levels drop rapidly, and for the rest of the month, they gradually rise and fall.

Hormones and the Brain

Oestrogen acts throughout the body, including the parts of the brain responsible for controlling emotions. Its effects on the brain include:

  • Increasing serotonin and the number of serotonin receptors
  • Modifying the production and effects of endorphins (the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain)
  • Stimulating nerve growth and protecting nerves from damage.

Oestrogen Levels and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) affects up to 90% of women, with symptoms occurring a few days before their periods. Physical symptoms may include bloating, swelling of arms or legs, and breast tenderness. Emotional symptoms may manifest as depression, irritability, anxiety, and social withdrawal. The severity of symptoms can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life.

Oestrogen and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is considered a severe form of PMS. Women with PMDD experience more intense and disruptive emotional symptoms before their periods, affecting their daily lives.

The exact connection between oestrogen and PMDD remains a mystery, but it’s believed that the normal fluctuations of oestrogen during the menstrual cycle may play a role.

Oestrogen Levels and Postpartum Depression

After childbirth, some women experience postpartum depression, with 10% to 25% affected within the first six months.

The potential link between the abrupt drop in oestrogen after delivery and postpartum depression remains inconclusively proven. Antidepressants, therapy, or both are typically used to treat postpartum depression. And certain forms of oestrogen hold promise as potential add-ons to these treatments.

Oestrogen and Perimenopausal Depression

During perimenopause, the phase leading to menopause, oestrogen levels become erratic and unpredictable. This instability may contribute to depression in up to 10% of women. Some studies suggest a transdermal oestrogen patch alone could alleviate depression during perimenopause.

Oestrogen and Postmenopausal Depression

At menopause, oestrogen levels drop to lower levels. Interestingly, taking oral oestrogen does not improve depression in women after menopause.

Large trials evaluating hormone replacement therapy found no significant difference in mental health between women taking oestrogen and those on placebo. After menopause, women’s rates of depression align with those of men in the same age group.

My Final Verdict

Oestrogen, the vital hormone responsible for various physiological and emotional processes in a woman’s body, plays a central role in influencing mood and emotional well-being. Throughout different stages of a woman’s life, oestrogen levels fluctuate, leading to diverse emotional experiences.

While researchers continue to study the complexities of oestrogen’s impact on emotions, understanding its effects is crucial for addressing mood-related disorders and providing effective treatments. You can meet expert doctors at Top Gynaecologists to get required advice and treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) Can hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle cause mood swings?

Yes, hormonal fluctuations, including changes in oestrogen levels, can contribute to mood swings and emotional changes during the menstrual cycle.

Q2) Does oestrogen replacement therapy help with mood disturbances during perimenopause?

While some studies show promise, oestrogen replacement therapy is not standard procedure to address mood disturbances during perimenopause.

Q3) Are there any natural ways to manage PMS symptoms?

Some women find relief through lifestyle changes, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress reduction techniques, and getting enough sleep.

Q4) How can one differentiate between PMS and PMDD?

PMDD is considered a more severe form of PMS, with heightened emotional symptoms that significantly impact daily life.

Q5) Can postpartum depression be prevented?

Preventing postpartum depression is not always possible, but having a support system, engaging in open communication, and seeking professional help can prove beneficial.

Mahantesh Karoshi
Mahantesh Karoshi

I'm a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Women's Health Expert. I believe in educating my patients to contribute to achieving the best possible clinical and holistic outcomes. By taking this approach, I enable and empower my patients whilst addressing their issues and concerns. I run a private practice with an extremely high standard of professionalism. My patients are directly involved in their care and management in all stages. My approach to my patient's problems is built on dedication and passion, drawing on analytical thinking and my on-time honored reading, teaching medical professionals nationally and internationally.