Can antidepressants cause hormone imbalance? As a medical professional and blogger, I often face this question.
See, antidepressants are the comfort zone for millions of patients with depression, and I couldn’t agree more. Though the drug provides relief, its link to hormone imbalance is not something we should ignore. Recently, a few studies have shed light on the fact, offering us surface information on the matter.
I have pulled off the available scientific information and presented it in the most non-medical way possible in the following article. I hope reading it to the end will clear your self-doubts on the good or bad of antidepressants.
Can Antidepressants Cause Hormone Imbalance?
Antidepressants of any kind cause hormone imbalance. Scientists suggest that your brain lacks serotonin during depressed hours. Taking an antidepressant pill fulfills the need, but your thyroid gland can not process the whole thing. As a result, it starts shooting hormones creating an imbalance.
The hormonal imbalance impact is not as grand as it sounds. However, the regular use of antidepressant drugs might turn this minor event into a significant health issue.
Recent researches show that antidepressants can affect the testosterone and estrogen hormone levels in human bodies. However, the effect is controversial, and no studies have proven the exact imbalance yet.
One driven data indicates that antidepressants increase testosterone and estrogen levels. Again, other evidence supports the decrease or no influence of the drug on these hormones.
Many patients, especially women, complain about their messed-up sex life caused by antidepressants. Doctors suggest that these SSRI drugs have several side effects and less sexual drive is one of those few.
Why do antidepressants take away your libido? Experts blame the imbalance of neurotransmitters for this. On one side, there is a boost of serotonin hormone, and on another, there is a decrease in dopamine release. As a result, sexual arousal takes a huge blow.
But do not think antidepressants only interfere with women and their sexual desires. It can also affect the fertility of men.
Researchers often claim that antidepressants influence luteinizing, prolactin, and follicle-stimulating hormones. Such abnormalities bring a significant impact on the male sex life.
With all these hormonal imbalances, are antidepressants safe? Well, only a licensed practitioner can answer this question for you after going through your medical reports. As not everyone who takes SSIR pills experiences hormone abnormalities, you are in no position to predict anything.
Can Zoloft Cause Hormonal Imbalance?
Like most other SSRIs, Zoloft can cause hormone imbalance, especially in women. Different studies have proved that Zoloft affects estrogen, androgen, and many other hormone receptors, in different ways.
Think about the case from a non-scientific point of view. When you take Zoloft, the pill works in balancing the lack of serotonin and lifts your mood. While stabilizing one hormone, it throws others off the hook and results in imbalance.
I have talked to many patients who take Zoloft regularly, and a small portion of them experience symptoms of hormonal imbalance. High androgen and low estrogen levels are more common among them.
Other than these, Zoloft can interfere with the personal growth, maturity gaining, and cell healing processes. Women, in most cases, suffer from sexual dysfunction, irregular menstrual cycles, and complicated pregnancies because of the hormonal imbalance this pill causes.
A group of medics claims this imbalance is not for everyone and a low dosage does no harm. However, another team of experts begs to differ. The studies are still going, and hopefully, soon, we will have crystal clear answers to all the doubts.
Lexapro For Hormone Imbalance
Lexapro is a popular SSRI drug for treating anxiety and depression. We usually feel low or irritated because of the low serotonin level. So, Lexapro increases the production of this hormone and brings back our happy mood.
We already know antidepressants cause hormone imbalance, maybe to an insignificant level. So, is Lexapro different from the rest of SSRIs? In a broad sense, the answer is no.
Lexapro also causes hormone imbalance in men and women but does not harm. In many cases, hormonal abnormalities lead to depressed and anxious moods. If you take antidepressants to overcome those imbalances, Lexapro might seem to work.
In reality, the drug hides the symptoms of the underlying hormone imbalance and scares away the depression. However, these sessions will become invalid, and you will have to go for a proper diagnosis in the long run.
Many of you are unknown of the menopausal depression term. In this condition, women go through a dark phase around menopause due to the hormonal shift. According to many experts, Lexapro comes in handy in such a mental stage.
Generally, doctors suggest hormone therapy for menopause-related symptoms. But Lexapro is as efficient as any therapy or even better to swift the hormonal shift in women around the 50s.
Does Lexapro Affect Estrogen Levels?
Lexapro does affect estrogen levels, at least, according to most research. Many doctors suggest Lexapro for menopausal depression instead of hormone therapy. It means the influence of this drug is way more efficient in balancing estrogen than other SSRIs available on the market.
During menopause, women experience a fall in estrogen. As a result, they go through hot flashes, smelly night sweats, mood shifting, etc., due to the shift in hormones.
Artificial hormone push, patches, or therapies can comfort the sufferers to an extent. Thanks to Lexapro, which has smoothened the journey and, of course, saves a bulk of money.
Testosterone And Antidepressants
Antidepressants indeed have a link to hormones. Experiments and driven data claim that these drugs affect the testosterone hormone. But in a good way or bad way? Let’s find out.
See, I have already mentioned the ongoing contradictory discussions associating testosterone level and antidepressants. Keeping that aside, what do the most prominent brains say about such impact?
A small team of Harvard Medical School had shown their interest in exploring more about the vague relation between testosterone and antidepressants. They had the following discoveries.
According to those experts, a low testosterone level often leads to depressing thoughts. Even antidepressants might not work in such cases. On the other hand, people with high or healthy testosterone levels respond to SSRIs within a shorter period.
So, whether the antidepressants increase or decrease testosterone level? The answer is still in the dark. But normal or high testosterone hormones lead to a quick remedy from depression.
Antidepressants And Menstrual Cycle
Your antidepressants might be why you are suffering during the menstrual period. Women on the pill often experience irregular periods, painful cramps, and heavy bleeding, all as the side effects of the antidepressants.
Researchers conducted studies with women who took SSRIs and those who didn’t. The result showed a direct link between antidepressant drugs and the menstrual cycle.
The serotonin involved in the SSRIs improves your mood. At the same time, it influences blood clotting, which explains your painful menstrual cycle. Again, antidepressants cause hormone imbalance. If your prolactin hormone shoots up, it can disrupt the ovulation leading to irregular periods.
If these SSRIs interfere in your daily life, talk to your doctor asap.
Side effects of antidepressants
Antidepressants come in handy while fighting back depression. Only a professional can prescribe this drug when the therapies or lifestyle changes fail to work.
People often doubt the benefits of antidepressants. Honestly, you can not deny the relief this drug provides up until a certain point. The regular use of antidepressants lifts your mood, improves your sleep cycle, boosts your appetite and focusing power.
But have you ever thought of the side effects of SSRI drugs? Here are some,
- Blurry vision
- Sex dysfunction
- Weight gain
- Dry mouth
- Rapid heartbeat
- Anxiety, etc.
These are the major drawbacks of antidepressants. However, not everyone on drugs will experience the same side effects. It depends on the dosage and especially on your health condition.
Talk to your doctor immediately if you feel weird or notice anything abnormal after taking an antidepressant. The expert will take the initiative for further diagnosis.
So, can antidepressants cause hormone imbalance? The straightforward answer is yes. While a low dosage might not affect your health negatively, for long-term use, you should consult your practitioner.