Estrogen, Serotonin, and Depression in Perimenopause
Did you know that there is a direct correlation between a woman’s estrogen levels and the serotonin levels in her brain? That is, when her estrogen levels rise, her serotonin levels rise. When her estrogen levels fall, her serotonin levels also fall, and that, ladies, is the basic crux of why many women suffer from depression and mood disorders during perimenopause.
Serotonin is the primary brain chemical which regulates mood. When serotonin levels are balanced, we sleep better. We feel secure and safe, mellow and relaxed, hopeful and optimistic, with a general sense of well-being. When serotonin levels are too low, we might feel agitated, irritable, unable to sleep well, and have carbohydrate, sugar, or alcohol cravings. We might also feel anxious and depressed.
During perimenopause when estrogen and progesterone levels are rising and falling, so too are serotonin levels. Hence, depression and other mood related symptoms in perimenopause. And since antidepressants work by artificially raising serotonin levels in our brain, it’s easy to understand exactly why physicians give them to women suffering from depression in perimenopause.